By NEMS Daily Journal
From 2 Corinthians 4:
But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture – “I believed, and so I spoke”- we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
Discouraging news this week about the nation’s economic progress caused stress for many people, and for good reason.
Almost everybody depends on money and financial stability to keep life – families, plans, hopes and dreams – on an even keel. When more than usual uncertainty creeps in, anxiety rises, worries increase, and strains heighten.
Life is full of anxiety: about jobs, about events, about relationships, about romance, about issues of trust. Name it, and there’s a parallel anxiety.
The Apostle Paul speaks about this kind of anxiety in 2 Corinthians when he talks about our “outer nature” – the externals that that make us anxious. But he has a predictable answer, at least for a saint: Those outer things don’t last but God’s love does.
Paul, who had a very practical and worldly job, never dismisses the reality or importance of things and issues that make us anxious and stressed. Paul sees the promise like this: God sustains us in the tight knots that make us anxious, and ultimately, eternally there is a time when we will not need to be anxious.
In the meantime, Paul says to let that eternal absence of anxiety into life now. He doesn’t offer precise instructions because Paul indicates he understands people get to the points they need to reach by different roads, just as he did.
God is with us. Paul had an understanding of that as a Jew because promises he described were already made hundreds of years before his time, frequently in the Psalms. He saw those promises in the new light of the Christian faith, but it is dead cinch that he knew by heart a psalm many people now also know:
A Psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff–
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long. (NRSV)
People long before Paul found peace, and people long after us will also, and all comes from the same shepherd written about so long ago.