“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. “We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit.” We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9. (TLB)
The book of 2 Corinthians is basically about trouble, Paul’s physical weakness, and overcoming failure. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 talks about inevitabilities as a Christian: Are we under pressure? Yes. Do we get confused sometimes? Yes. Will we face criticism? Yes. Will we get knocked down sometimes? Yes.
That’s life, that’s reality, that’s the truth for every follower of Jesus. If you thought anything different, you will eventually see the truth of these statements. Being a Christian doesn’t mean getting a free pass through life. Far from it. We fall short of the mark. But that does not mean we have to stay down when we are down. We need to pick ourselves up. “We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit.”
The 2nd Corinthians passage ends with:“We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.” (TLB) Now those words express the exact thought and meaning of what the Apostle Paul is trying to get across to us. Paul was knocked to the ground many times, but he was never permanently grounded. Through all the trials, struggles and failures God always gave him the strength to get up and get back in the race.
There was a big difference between Paul’s outward circumstances and his inner peace. Outwardly “pressed on every side by troubles,” inwardly “not crushed or broken.” Outwardly “perplexed,” but inwardly “not giving up or quitting.” Outwardly “hunted down,” inwardly “but not abandoned.” Outwardly “knocked down,” but inwardly “being able to keep going.” When faced with defeat, we too can have the inner strength through Christ to turn failure into victory.
Samson at the end of his life had experienced humiliating defeat at the hand of his enemy. Some of us may feel the same as he did. We feel that we failed and as a result were a failure. The good news is that while you may be at the end of your rope, you are not at the end of your hope. You may be down in the deep clutches of remorse, but you don’t have to stay there. Through Christ you can get up again and go on. When we are at our worst, God is at His best. When we are down, God is up. When we can’t, God can. When we are at wit’s end, God begins to work.
The Bible is full of examples. Adam was down, but God lifted him. Jacob was down, but God lifted him. Joseph was down, but God lifted him. Moses was down, but God lifted him. David was down, but God lifted him. Peter was down, but God lifted him. And Samson was down, but God lifted him in the end.
C.S. Lewis had this to say on the subject: “God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.” ( A Grief Observed)
- When you are down, how do you normally react?
- Is failure the principal reason we are down sometimes?
- What can we do this week to to look up when we are down?