“For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. 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.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)
I am a weak, fragile clay jar that could be easily broken. I am not patient or strong and I don’t have endurance. I can barely keep myself together enough while working towards raising up the prayer and financial partners to get to Romania. I will never have the endurance to stay for I am far too weak, but this doesn’t cause me despair like it once did.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 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. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you. (2 Corinthians 4:8-12)
Jesus is alive and building His kingdom, and He has called our family to serve Him in Romania. The small, trivial and short trials we have endured lately have only made our calling more clear. We truly do have an adversary who roars around like a lion seeking to devour.
But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! (2 Corinthians 4:13-17)
When we joined ReachGlobal we had many people tell us that they respected us and something along the lines of, "It takes a strong person to do what you are doing." I believed it. A year and half of humbling hardships later I see that there isn't anything further from the truth. It takes a weak person to be a missionary. The weaker the better, because God's power is perfected and clearly shown in weakness. We don't endure because we are strong, faithful or full of patience. We endure because God's power is alive inside our weak, fragile clay jar of a body.
So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:18)