(Photo by Tim Trad – Unsplash)
I don’t know about you but if I were to walk out on a glass bottom floor, the view would have to be something spectacular to look at like the Grand Canyon. However, in this picture, we are given only one point of view (POV). We can’t see what is straight in front of the photographer just what is below him, streets and rooftops. So I googled Chicago Skydeck and saw some amazing skyline pictures, even city lights at night look awesome. What Paul is trying to do here in 2 Corinthians 4, is to get us to change our POV. Many times when we are going through trials we get that “Poor me” tunnel vision and the focus is on how bad things look. Paul is trying to get us to look up and see what God has planned for the outcome of the trial. Let’s take a look at how we can change our POV during trials
Afflicted in every way, but not crushed.
Tunnel vision in times of trials causes us to feel as if the walls are closing in on us. When we go all tunnel vision we see the worst possible outcome. Paul changes the POV to whatever the trial is, we will not be destroyed by it. Later on in 2 Corinthians 9:8 in the Amplified, he says;
And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity.
God has given us the grace to make it through the trials so that we are totally reliant on Him. We will come out of the trial by God’s grace. Trials cause us to see we need to be 100% dependent on God, in the good times as well as the bad.
Perplexed, but not driven to despair.
As I was trying to work on the photo, it would not pull up in the photo editor I was using. I even downloaded it a second time, moved the photo to the desktop but the editor wouldn’t find it no matter what I tried. I was ready to give up and find a different picture to use. I have my browser set up that when I open it a picture from Unsplash will pop up as my homepage. I had downloaded the picture from there instead of going to Unsplash to download it. Once I went to the source directly and downloaded the photo I was able to use it in the photo editor.
Many times when we are going through trials we start asking the why questions. “Why me?” “Why do I have to go through this?” “Why can’t I get to the other side of this?” Our enemy loves when we start the “WHY” questions. They mean he has done his job in getting our eyes off of God and onto the situation we find ourselves in.
Like before God has given us the grace to make it through. We just need to depend on Him for the help to get out of the trouble we find ourselves in.
Persecuted, but not forsaken.
Not matter how you feel, you are not the only one in the boat. Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto with him in his battles. I don’t know how many times I felt that I was the only one suffering they way I was through high school. No one had to put up with what I did. I was all alone in my boat. I had forgotten that Jesus went through what I did and even worse. It took me a good time to remember that He was in the boat with me. Then I found this promise in Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV;
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
That was Jesus wrapping His arm around me in the boat, taking control of the rudder and steering me through the trial. My POV had changed.
Struck down, but not destroyed.
In some trials, we may feel like the boxer who is down for the count, 1…2…3… We struggle to get up but are still dazed by the last blow of the enemy. 4…5…6… Jesus is in our corner cheering us on to get up, we can make it. 7…8…9… Jesus shouts to us, “I have defeated him by My death on the cross and resurrection. Get up.” Suddenly, we are up and ready to continue the fight. The most powerful POV that we can have in our times of trials is found in Romans 8:11 Amplified;
And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.
The power of the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is within you. Jesus defeated our enemy so we already have the victory.
Paul is saying that our point of view needs to be on the eternal outcome, not the here and now. Look at the last part of 2 Corinthians 9 in the Amplified;
16 Therefore we do not become discouraged [spiritless, disappointed, or afraid]. Though our outer self is [progressively] wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary, light distress [this passing trouble] is producing for us an eternal weight of glory [a fullness] beyond all measure [surpassing all comparisons, a transcendent splendor and an endless blessedness]!18 So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are visible are temporal [just brief and fleeting], but the things which are invisible are everlasting and imperishable.
I know all too well that when we are going through trials it is hard to see them as a passing trouble and the eternal reward at the end. When we keep the point of view; God has given us the grace to go through the trial, we are not alone for Jesus is with us, and Jesus has already defeated the enemy, we came make it through.