Glory, glory, glory

Those Corinthians were recalcitrants. (That’s one of my current favorite words.)

When Paul wrote II Corinthians, he was having trouble in pretty much every conceivable area of his life. The  influential Jewish leaders, who were the self-professed enemies of Christ, were nearly killing him every chance they got. The Christians (those recalcitrant Corinthians) didn’t trust him. Even the weather seemed to be against him.  That’s why at one point he said he was “troubled on every side.”

But did you ever notice in that book, how much the word “glory” appears? (Along with “light” and “shining,” which are sort of the same idea.) Did you ever really ponder the contrast of these two concepts?

I think I knew about it, but I guess I had forgotten, because when I’ve been studying II Corinthians this time, it’s been hitting me between the eyes. Paul was in affliction and anguish in chapter 2, troubled, perplexed, persecuted, and cast down in chapter 4, groaning in chapter 5, describing his beatings, stonings, deaths (yes, deaths!), shipwrecks, dangers, weariness, painfulness, hunger, thirst, cold, and weakness in chapter 11. And I’ve barely even scratched the surface.

But this book is full of glory. That’s why for my birthday one year the verses I requested to be printed out and put on my wall were from II Corinthians—some of my very favorite verses ever. Chapter 3, verses 7-18, that contrasts the (fading) glory of the Old Covenant with the breathtaking glory of the New. Doesn’t it just make you stand in amazement? Or that part in chapter 4, where God shines in the darkness to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Doesn’t it just give you goosebumps?

Or how about at the end of chapter 4 where he contrasts all his afflictions, which were “but for a moment” (read: “this life only”) with his glories in Christ, which would be eternal.

Now there’s a man with a divine perspective.

I well remember one day when I was agonizing in prayer, “Lord show Me your glory!” I wasn’t even sure exactly what I was praying for. And what I got sure wasn’t what I expected. I entered a time of the most intense darkness in spiritual battle that I have ever known. How can I even describe it?

But in the midst of that darkness, in the waging of that war, God showed me, in some small measure, His glory. He became more real, more strong, more precious to me than I had ever known Him to be.

So I cry out with Paul, “The things that are seen don’t last. The things that are not seen are eternal.”

Take heart, dear friend, when you’re in the midst of darkness. (You know who you are.) There is hope. God is real, God is true. God is a God of justice. God is a God of hope. God is a God of joy in darkness. Keep trusting Him.

And you might want to read II Corinthians. Paul really knew what he was talking about.

2 thoughts on “Glory, glory, glory

  1. Great thoughts, Rebecca. Our girls and I are reading through 2 Corinthians right now. What a great book about being in the light!

  2. Love this one, Rebecca! P. Cook is going through 2 Cor (I’ve heard parts of it) and today I visited Southside Fellowship with Laurie and they were doing their final sum-it-up message on 2 Cor (which they evidently just completed). And of course, one of the 3 “take-aways” from 2 Corinthians is God’s strength being not only sufficient, but exalted in our weakness. What a mystery! And yet Paul surely knew just what he was talking about – having not only survived so many death-defying experiences, but learning to GLORY in his weakness, to boast in his infirmities, becuase God’s strength is somehow seen. What a mystery! And yet, can’t we testify to this? And isn’t it a great relief and joy to know that God’s strength is exalted in these clay vessels of ours, which hold the inexpressible & glorious light of God? In these tents that one day will be glorified, but even now give witness as light shining in darkness, because we reflect Christ? Yes, indeed – 2 Corinthians is one of my all-time favorites, too! Thanks for sharing this. Love you.

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