Keep on keeping on
May 3, 2021, 11:40 AM

“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”
‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭4:8-10‬ ‭

There is a slight irony that I am sitting down to write a devotion today about being pressed but not crushed. Sometimes that feels like my story. Maybe it feels like yours. Nothing is ever too devastating that you are not here to tell about it, but you feel pressed from every side more often than not. You are perplexed and confused about why “this stuff” always happens to you. We portray stability and invincibility because we see weakness and allowing “this stuff to get to us” as a hindrance to our success at work and our relationships. But “this stuff” gets to all of us at some point. 

Like me, you’ve probably also found yourself feeling desperate for relief. I’m currently carrying a few mild inconveniences in the grand scheme of things. Foot pain I have to go to the doctor for, allergies causing a headache, neck pain getting worked on right now at chiropractor, and things I need to get done but can’t because of the things I just mentioned. I can’t get ahead, and I keep falling behind. The irony is that today, my neck literally feels like it’s being crushed. That pain is a constant reminder that my physical body does not work as I want it to, and it’s a distraction from what I need to focus on. Anyone else have a bunch of little things stack up, and it puts you in a bad mood?

I assume you all raised your hands. What about the weeks where you are late for work, the check engine light comes on, the stove stops working, the dog gets into something it shouldn’t, or you spill something on the furniture? We all have those days where it feels like enough is enough, and if one more thing happens, we're going to lose our mind. When is enough, enough? 

What is enough? Enough is acceptable. Enough is sufficient. Is our definition of enough really a lousy vision of a good life? We expect things to go according to this perfect plan and uneventful day. When our expectations of an ideal day or perfect life fail to materialize, we hit resistance in our lives. Resistance, suffering, and weakness require something of us that puts us in opposition to a “good life. Even if enough is a sufficient and acceptable life, that’s short of God’s vision for our lives. 

In John 10:10, Jesus tells us that He came (to earth to reconcile us to Himself), that we may have life, and have it to the full. A full life is not enough. A full life is more than enough. Our need for our version of a perfect life causes us to reject the process of developing a full life. 
In today’s passage, Paul discloses his current weakness with the church in Corinth. He shares about feeling like things are coming at him from every side. He feels the pressure of everything he is facing, but he does not despair. He is not without hope. Amid everything he was facing, how and where did he find that hope? 

Further in the passage in verses 16-18, he encourages the Corinthians to face the pressures and process of working out their faith. Paul states, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." Did you catch that? Our light and momentary troubles achieve for us an eternal glory that far outweighs what we are experiencing in the present. 

Achievement comes from the endurance, obedience, and perseverance of the process in each step of faith. The process is where we find God. Despite how we feel and despite our circumstances, the process is where we work out our faith. When “this stuff” that keeps happening begins to stack up, those are the moments we get to stack up in our process of building a full life. It’s the moments where we turn to prayer instead of complaining, choose kindness instead of anger, and take our thoughts captive and turn them into gratitude. 

It’s each moment we don’t want to be faithful but choose it anyway. It’s each moment we choose to be obedient to live like Jesus. Each of those moments stacking up over time is the process of building a life of faith and a life that is full and more than enough. In each of those moments, we choose to encounter the presence of God in our lives because we invite Him into our struggle as we turn to prayer, choose kindness, choose gratitude, choose obedience, and choose Jesus over where our nature is leading us. 

Our challenge in times where we feel like enough is enough is not to lose heart. We fix our eyes on what is eternal in light of our momentary struggles. We turn to Him in those moments we don’t want to but know we need to. We build new habits of dealing with life pressures that feel like they are crushing us and leading us into despair. We trust the process in each moment as we press against the resistance and choose to endure. We don’t want enough for our lives. We want the full life Jesus provides. We want more than enough. What pressures are you feeling right now? Have you chosen endurance over defeat? 

Prayer: Father God, thank you for sending Jesus to not only reconcile me to Yourself, but to give me a full life. Lord You did not promise a life without struggles, but You promised Your presence in all moments of my life. Help me to choose You in the moments where I face pressure and am tempted to lose hope. Lord use Your presence to guide us and shape us and comfort us as we achieve the eternal glory that will far outweigh anything we endure on earth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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