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Afflicted But Not Crushed

“Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him …. He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life, He may shorten it; He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends, He may throw me among strangers, He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide the future from me – still He knows what He is about.” – John Henry Cardinal Newman

To a culture driven by a desire for entertainment, health, wealth, and prosperity, the above words are shocking. Even as a Christian, I don’t like them. I don’t want sickness, perplexity, sorrow, loneliness, and desolation. And I don’t like the fact that God may ask any or all of those things from me to bring about his own glory and his own purpose.

But that is the truth. Paul writes in II Corinthians 4:7-12, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.”

  • Are you or is someone you love struggling with pain in some area – financial trouble, emotional upheaval, mental doubt, difficult relationships, physical illness?

  • What is your response to this trial?

  • Commit the trial to God: ask for the grace to glorify Jesus in the midst of trials and suffering, and for insight to see how the power of God, the wisdom of God, and the love of God are at work.

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