Frayed at the ends
The circumstances in which we find ourselves have a significant impact on us. Sometimes those circumstances are so bad that you feel there is absolutely no way out.
Paul was in a black hole. He knew the circumstances in Corinth were not good for Christians. There was fighting amongst them as well as opposition from outside. A recipe for disaster. Chances were that everything would be destroyed and that the church would break up.
And with all this going on Paul did not know how his first letter to Corinth had been received. He wasn’t even sure if there was even one Christian left. That made him feel so insecure and discouraged. Even more: He didn’t know what had happened to Titus, who had become like his own son. He wasn’t even sure whether Titus was still alive.
This bleak picture of reality affected Paul’s mood badly: 5When we arrived in Macedonia province, we couldn’t settle down. The fights in the church and the fears in our hearts kept us on pins and needles. We couldn’t relax because we didn’t know how it would turn out. Paul was depressed.
6Then the God who lifts up the downcast lifted our heads and our hearts with the arrival of Titus.
God is good at picking people up out of the dust, but sometimes our circumstances make it impossible for us to look up at God. Later you don’t even expect any more that God can do something, and even less want to do something. But we must never stop believing that God can help us in every situation. If God could help Paul and pull him up out of the dust, then He must be able to do it for me and you?
Aunty T wrote to me from the Rûens after Robin Williams’ suicide:
You know, my life was like Robin’s. I couldn’t go on and did not want to go on living.
Again I talked to God and said: Lord, my life is in tatters and has no use any more.
God took those rags to His heavenly laundry, washed and ironed them and sewed them together piece by piece with His amazing grace. Suddenly that thought of not wanting to live anymore disappeared. He came to sew together the life of this human being made of old, frayed rags. God’s grace is too amazing to understand, but this is what our faith is about. What the love for, and life and eternity with Christ is about. He did say, “Come to Me, all of you who are tired and weary.”
Many times the rags tear loose, but again and again God sews them together again. I realise each day what a wonderful God and heavenly Father I have.
Aunty T knows exactly what Paul had felt like down in the dust, but she also knows what it feels like to keep holding on to her God so that He can pull her up out of the dust.
May this become true for your life. May you and I and Aunty T and Paul call out: 6Then the God who lifts up the downcast lifted our heads and our hearts…
What load are you carrying?
Are you down in the dust?
Do you believe that God can and want to lift you up?
Father, I really needed to hear this story. I need to see the sun so that I can enjoy life again. I’m so tired of being in these circumstances and I want to get away. Only You can do it. Help me. Amen