What does it mean to be ‘un’destroyed?
Well, when I thought about how to describe or define this term the following scripture popped up in my head which I think aptly explains what I mean.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
(2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV)
These verses illustrate pain and courage, the apostles suffered affliction everywhere they turned and I can see this most clearly in the Book of Acts. They were thrown into jail, stoned, beaten, ridiculed and more but this never stopped them from pressing on in their work. The reality of what they were facing could have distressed them and made them feel like they were being hemmed in but they didn’t allow the suffering they experienced to stifle their zeal. They couldn’t fully comprehend why they were facing so much tribulation, their experiences left them feeling perplexed but even in the midst of mounting uncertainty they still had hope that there was a way out. At times it seems that people went out of their way to hound them, shut them up and destroy them but even in the midst of this God never left them to the whims of their enemies, He never gave them up to destruction.
As someone dealing with quite a painful health problem, I often find myself in a place of pain with not so much of the courage. Everyday I pray for the strength and courage to make it through particularly when I’m overwhelmed by what is happening in my body, which at times makes me feel distressed, in despair and forgotten. But this week God has been teaching me lessons through the ‘un’destroyed.
The lesson from the flowers
Right now I have a vase of freshly cut flowers on the dining table, I like to spend time just looking at them and smelling their different scents. I was at my mother’s house when I received them, so I put them in water in a makeshift vase but it was not until morning that I realised that because I had left the plastic on them that they had received no water at all and were beginning to dry out! I felt so sad and full of remorse; as soon as I got home I tended to them and put them near the window. A few days later I noticed that a flower which had semi-opened was now fully blossomed, and a few days after this I noticed that two which had been closed were now opening. This surprised me because I thought that as the days went by that they would be fading and dying, not prospering and blooming! My flowers taught me that even though they were no longer connected to their roots, they still had life energy within them. All they needed was the right care and resources for that energy to be rekindled, and for them to continue doing what they were created to do: grow and bloom.
I also felt that God was telling me that it doesn’t matter if I feel like I’m not fully functioning, I still have the Spirit in me who is able to bring life to my mortal body, and I still have my spirit in me which has been created to fill a need on this planet. I am reminded once again that to fully grow and bloom I need the right care and the right resources, I need to come along side God so that He can rekindle the life energy within my soul and body.
Now nearly a week on my flowers are drying out but the lesson I learnt remains fresh in my heart and mind, everyday I wake I re-dedicate myself to God as His beloved temple. He wants me to be full of His life within me and the only way this can occur is if I willingly surrender myself to Him so that His life flows within me. This year is the first year that I will be celebrating the Feast of Dedication, not in the traditional Jewish way but in a way that makes sense to me. I want God’s light to continue to burn within me irrelevant of the muck and mess in my life or the things around me that might want to defile, belittle or pollute me, so this year I am coming beside Him in agreement to say that I am His temple fully dedicated being a vessel used for His glory.
Pause for reflection
- Is there anything in your life which makes you feel that you are not fully functioning or that you can’t be used to glorify God?
- How has this impacted you personally?
- How could you come alongside God more to enable His life energy to flow more fully within you?