Whilst wondering what to write about I was drawn to Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4v8: “we are …… perplexed but not in despair”. Many across the fellowship may indeed be perplexed, effectively asking God why He has allowed, perhaps for some considerable period, particular circumstances in their lives – for instance poor health, family concerns, unsaved loved ones.
I am told that by “perplexed” Paul means that he can see no way to escape a bad situation. In a couple of other places in the New Testament where the word is used it is translated “at a loss”. It is very significant to note that the tense Paul uses is not to describe a one-off, previous experience, but rather an ongoing condition! What honesty! What humility!
Paul goes on, however, to say that he was “not in despair” and the word he uses actually implies that there is some way out, there is some light at the end of the tunnel (and it’s not an approaching train!). Things may look bad – but with God’s help they are not as bad as they seem.
Paul actually explains his reasoning throughout 2 Corinthians 4 and I encourage you to read and meditate on this chapter. He refers to the motivating effect of God’s mercy, the opposition we face from the devil, dying for Jesus’ sake in order to live and the glorious eternal future that is ahead. In the penultimate verse his perplexity is overcome by an astonishing but gloriously true affirmation: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all”. May God help us all in the midst of our perplexities not to despair!
Peace and Grace