Saturday was incredibly rough. I still don’t even understand it all, but it was a big pot of pride and selfishness, mixed with exhaustion, and seasoned with despair. It seemed a knot too complex to ever unravel. I felt like throwing in the towel of ministry because of what a loser I was. Why even try? Why even try to minister to others when I can’t even help myself?
I’m not sure if you’ve ever been to the bottom of the pit, but I can assure you that it’s dark and confusing and oppressive. Everything is magnified and nothing is logical.
But does it ever make you appreciate the dawn. The next morning, I woke up at the same time as the sun and crawled over to the window so I could drink it in.
1 Corinthians 4.
“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” Verse One.
It was ironic that today’s Bible reading plan had led me to this place. The previous day I had really lost heart…Who was I to tell anyone how to live anyway? I couldn’t even get it straight myself.
Verse five: “For what we proclaim is NOT ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord.”
Oh, that’s right. I’m not qualified to be in ministry, and nothing I ever do will make me qualified. I’m not here proclaiming how great I am (trust me, it’s not pretty), but rather proclaiming the greatness of my God.
Verse seven continued to speak to me. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay…”
Isn’t that the truth…brittle, fragile, easily cracked…
“To show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Cor. 4:7).
Of course. To make sure God gets the glory and never me.
I arrived at verse eight and that’s when the tears started to come slow and steady. “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed.”
Oh God, how long?
“Perplexed, but not driven to despair. Persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed.”
My five-year-old came out of her room and cuddled up on my lap. The morning light accented every little hair on her face and I took a few moments to just take in her beauty.
After a few moments she spoke, “Momma, you have blood on your eye.” I rubbed at my eye, confused, until I realized that she was looking at the blood vessels in my eye. I explained that God had made it that way. “Yeah,” she echoed, “we need ouw blood orw else we can’t live.”
We sat quiet and I let myself consider for a still moment the miracle of the blood rushing through our veins giving us life.
“We also believe, and so we also speak,” (Verse 13).
How can I but speak of that which I have seen and heard? How can I stay silent when Jesus has transformed my life, given me hope beyond this darkness, and promises a peace that surpasses understanding?
“So we do not lose heart.”
Yes, it is true. We can’t. How can we when there is so much hope in Christ and what He has done on our behalf? We can’t lose heart…so we don’t.
Verse 16 continues. “Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this LIGHT MOMENTARY affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” Sure, afflictions don’t feel light at the time. But when you compare them with future glory (that is YOURS if you just repent of your sin and turn to Jesus in Faith!), they don’t seem as heavy.
Yes, my heart scraped the bottom this weekend. Maybe you can relate. Maybe not. (FYI, things are much better today after being around my church family, confessing hurtful sin to my husband, forgiving him for his, and taking a long cleaning bath in God’s word and His presence).
I’m not sure why I shared all this personal and heavy junk. I think I’ve been around the block enough to know that others have been in a similar pit of hopelessness and despair. I want to speak life to anyone out there who also feels like throwing in the towel (in ministry, in pursuing Jesus, in marriage, or in life in general). Don’t quit. Instead, “look not at the things that are seen but to the things that are not seen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:18).