Reading through 2 Corinthians is very therapeutic for me, I’m finding. I’ve been wanting to read it for some time, but decided to finish my study first on Matthew. So I finished, and am now reading through 2 Corinthians, and I’m finding that it’s very helpful, for it’s confirming my ministry and the struggles that I’ve endured so far in them. For example:
- In my first church after seminary (though it wasn’t my first church), they wanted me to candy-coat the message…water it down. They wanted me to include non-believers among the believers in terms of who’s saved and who are God’s children, and they wanted me to make the Gospel of Jesus Christ more acceptable to the culture. But I wouldn’t do this. Instead, I spoke of the Truth of Jesus’ gospel, and in the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 4, “(I) received much persecution, but wasn’t abandoned; (I was) hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; I was (fired) struck down, but not destroyed.”
- In my next church, the leadership denied the Truth altogether. The veil was over their eyes…Satan had placed a veil over them to keep them from knowing God’s glory in Christ Jesus.
- At the next church after that (3rd after Seminary), the veil is still over many there. It’s not that God didn’t try to show His face to them, but that He DID…they just chose to look away and reject it.
So why am I encouraged? I’m encouraged because I’m reminded that my sufferings were for Christ’s sake. I suffered because I DID stick to the Truth of God’s glory. I really tried to show them God’s face.
One morning, as I walked our dog, I reflected with the Lord about all this, and He helped me realize: I’m not a victim of the churches, as I had once thought. Instead, I go where He sends me with His message burning in my heart, and flowing from my lips. Many have received His message with joy! But many have also rejected it, as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 2:14-17, “to those being saved, our message is the sweet aroma of life, but to those perishing, it’s the stench of death.” And those who rejected it happened to despise God’s message so strongly that they did whatever it took to send me away. But I’m not the victim, they are, of their own despise, and what happens with/to them now is between them and God; I did what I could.
The Truth WILL set you free, and I only pray that one day, they will all realize this, and accept it full-heartedly.