The Roller Coaster of Life…How to Ride it in Joy:
Devotional Thoughts of a day that wavered in devotion….
7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (NLT)
Yesterday, the entire “day” seemed like a downer, until I got to Bible Study – and we looked at the church in Phillipi. If I had to compare it to anything – it would be like a long subway ride, with all the lights out….. and finally Bible Study – with the incredible saints here at my church – lifted me out of the darkness and gloom. Fellowship – the partnership with God in the sharing His love and work to reveal that love to us (i.e. the gospel) that Paul shared with the Philippians and I share with the Concordians – does that. It pulls us out of our gloom, our darkness… for assuredly where two or three (or 25) are gathered in His name – He is there, with them.
Today – well – it’s been less a subway – and more like a roller coaster – the ups (another Bible Study and Devotions) were quickly dropped into lows, and then the hard slow grind back to the top. ( I think that was lunch – reading a good book!) and then – woosh – off we go again! There are days I just wished all I could do is teach and preach and lead worship – from waking up until lieing down. (I know better than going into academia – they have more meetings and grading papers, and accreditation and. and and… blech – give me the subway!)
Paul likewise had some challenging days! These kinds of spiritual/emotional/psycho/physical roller coasters didn’t start yesterday. They’ve been around a while, these roller coasters! The challenge is to find out how to have our faith, in the midst of the highs and lows. The challenge is to not go about it on our strength – but to cling to Christ – by remembering He has us fully in His grasp.
Our hope is found in the same place Paul found his sustenance. It is the dunamis – the power of God – the work of the Holy Spirit – within us, the very promise delivered to us in our baptism. We find our resilience – our ability to stand – not in our ability, rather because we know He has placed us there, and that He stands with us, He is our armor, our righteousness, our strength.
He is why we can withstand the stomach bouncing drops – and the long drags back up the hill… for we are more aware of His presence – than anything else. For if we have been united with His death and resurrection – it stands to reason that He has been united with us, and we indeed carry God about in us, as we enjoy the ride… trusting in Him.