Perplexed, but not in despair . . . (2 Corinthians 4:8)
On Monday we began moving through this marvelous passage from the inspired pen of the apostle Paul; today we see that we go from being hard pressed to perplexed as we endure this time of global pandemic.
Just two short months ago, if someone had suggested that the entire nation would be shut down and we would be confined to our homes, we would have believed that person had lost their mind! Yet this is exactly where we find ourselves, and it is as difficult to receive as it is to respond to. In a word, our circumstances are perplexing.
The Greek word which is rendered “perplexed” in most English translations of Scripture can be literally translated as “to be at a loss.” To be sure, we are at a loss in many ways at this time. Through no fault of our own, we are all at a loss in both our professional lives and our personal lives. Our routines have been turned upside down and inside out. “Social distancing” has strained our relationships; people edge nervously past each other in the supermarket, and close friends studiously avoid hugs and handshakes. People who would warmly embrace just weeks ago now raise a cautionary hand and say, “Don’t get too close!” Yet in spite of all this, we are not in despair because of the living hope we have in our Lord.
In the 1985 “Anne of Green Gables” television mini-series, a perplexed young Anne cries out to her adoptive mother Marilla, “Can’t you even imagine you’re in the depths of despair?” To which Marilla replies, “No I cannot. To despair is to turn your back on God.” Christian, to despair is to depart from the holy hope we have in Christ Jesus. Paul went through some pretty perplexing times, yet he would not give in to despair, because he knew in whom he had trusted. He understood the glorious truth that if God the Father would not spare even His own Son to bring about Paul’s salvation, God can be trusted . . . even in the most perplexing times.
Can the same be said of you and me? Do we really believe that God can be totally trusted, even in the perplexing time of this pandemic? Inasmuch as it seems like COVID-19 has the upper hand, we must recognize that we would not be in this perplexing time if it had not first passed through the nail-scarred hands of our loving Savior. Nothing happens to us apart from the will of God. Yes, God’s will can seem quite perplexing at times, but that is because He is God and we are not. If we had a God we could fully understand, He would not be God! We would be, and I am quite sure that you will utter a hearty “Amen” when I say “Thank God that you and I are not God!”
To be perplexed is simply part of our pilgrimage through this world as we make our way toward our promised paradise. But because we have a hope that no circumstance can crush, we shall not despair.
Please come back on Friday to look at another portion of this powerful passage of Scripture.
You are in my prayers and in my heart.
Purpose and Passion,