Andy Hollifield 5-5-18
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; (9) Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Trouble—–1) 68x it is used in the scriptures. It means: to disturb the mental calm and contentment of; worry; distress; agitate. 2) to annoy, vex, or bother
Distressed—-1) 11x great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering; affliction, or trouble
Perplexed—-1) 5x bewildered; puzzled: 2) complicated; involved;
Despair——-1) 3x loss of hope; hopelessness
Persecuted—1) 20x to pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment especially because of religious or political beliefs, ethnic or racial origin. 2) to annoy or trouble persistently
Forsaken——1) 76x deserted or abandoned, 2) to quit or leave entirely 3) to given up on
Cast down (downcast)—-1) 34x dejected in spirit, depressed, sad, low, blue, desolate
Destroyed—–1) 167x to be reduced to useless fragments, form, or remains; injured beyond repair or renewal; demolished; ruined, annihilated. 2) To be put to an end, to be killed; 3) to be rendered ineffective or useless; 4) defeated completed; 5) ravaged, devastated
Sometimes we have a tendency to read through anything without giving it as much thought as what we should. I believe these two verses are a good example of that. Paul is acknowledging that there are a lot of pitfalls and unpleasant circumstances at times in being a Christian. But he goes on to point out that his circumstances are not as bad as they could have been. If the truth be known, we are going to go through these kind of times whether we are a child of God or not. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, Paul addressed that fact by saying “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” The word “suffer” means to tolerate, allow, be subjected to, undergo, or experience. God doesn’t allow more than you can handle and everything that may come on you, it is common to all men regardless of whether or not they are born again. Jesus said in Matthew 5:45 “That ye may be the children is of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. There is always evil and good and both happen to all people whether they are deserving of it or not. The big difference is that we have a faithful God that we can rely on in those times that will never forsake us. Psalms 9:9 says, “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” Refuge is defined as a place of shelter, protection, or safety or anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief, or escape. Some of the words that mean the same thing are; asylum, retreat, sanctuary, haven, and stronghold. That sounds exactly like our God doesn’t it. The word refuge appears 47 times and 18 times in Psalms alone. Psalms 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” If you have been born again very long at all, you have seen that verse proven true in your own life countless times probably; and if you haven’t yet, you will. One of my favorite verses is 1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” One who has never accepted Christ as their Savior doesn’t have those luxuries such as that one, that are given to God’s children. They have no savior that is concerned with their well-being that they can run to for refuge. I have heard unsaved people say that they pray all the time. The fact is that if they aren’t saved, God doesn’t hear them because of their unconfessed sin, just the same as he doesn’t hear his children that have unconfessed sin in their lives until they repent.
I have almost gotten completely off track but it is easy to do when you start talking about God being your refuge. As a Christian, I have seen a lot of times that it seemed that there was trouble on every side. But, not once have I ever had reason to be distressed because I always had my refuge to run to and a Savior I could cast all my care on. I have also had many times when I have been perplexed and confused, bewildered and even my soul overwhelmed, but never have I been in complete despair where I had no hope. I have always, in those times, had my God to call on when I needed relief and have always found him to be faithful. I have even seen some times when I have been somewhat persecuted for my faith. That is, if you call being made fun of or ridiculed being persecuted. Hebrews 12:4 says, “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” That day will likely come if the Lord doesn’t return soon, but so far I haven’t had to face that. Even in those times, when it seemed I didn’t have a friend in the world, I have never been forsaken by the Lord. He has always been faithful. He has always been more faithful to me than I have to him. I am thankful that his faithfulness isn’t contingent on mine. Their have even been a lot of times that I have been cast down spiritually. I have been depressed and low in spirit. I have even at times felt desolate and alone, although I never really was. But, I have never been to the place where I have been totally useless beyond repair. There has always been a way to fix my uselessness and that is through repentance. Romans 10:12 says that “….The same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” Ephesians 2:4-6 says “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved;) (6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Together. God hath quickened (revived and restored life to) us together in Christ. Made alive together. That means not only is he always with us but we also have Christian brothers and sisters that have likely been where we are at some point in their lives and can be a help to us, as we can be to others, if we just humble ourselves enough to admit we have a need.
No matter where you are at or what is going on in your life; it could always be worse; so it’s not as bad as it could be. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!
Andy Hollifield 5-5-18