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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

We do not Lose Heart

''Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.''

(2 Corinthians 4:16 NKJV)

It is easy in our day to lose heart when we are overwhelmed by so much uncertainty on all sides and assailed by all kinds of anxiety. The opposite would be strange, when it has become impossible to make any kind of program even in the short term. I am experiencing sensations, which may have belonged to the young Joseph of Genesis, precisely as of someone who was against his will thrown into the bottom of a deep and dry cistern by those who wanted to stifle his dreams. I felt the scratches of the rubbing on my skin, the intense pain of the bruises due to the impact. And after staying there I don't know for how long, when they were pulling me out, I deluded myself that the worst was over. As soon as it was outside, it turned out that we must never place the word "end", because there is always more coming, beyond our human imagination or expectation. For the same reason we shouldn't use it to address our situation, as if to raise the white flag. If it is true that we remain "earthen vessels" (v. 7), tremendously fragile and interiorly poor, Someone has deemed us worthy to welcome his treasure, showing us mercy and welcoming us to him.

The apostle Paul had his own code of behavior to deal with the difficulty he was experiencing and come to terms with it. He had modeled it in the course of his experiences, and noting its effectiveness, he also proposed it to us. First of all, the awareness that everything passes. He writes: "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment" (v. 17a). Relative to the time of its duration, or even to what is worse around us, our affliction will be light. Job also thought so, when he was certain "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth" (19:25). Anyone who is called to a challenge, to go into battle or face any difficulty, will have to immediately react to the pressure of time and be ready to wait patiently. Not only that, be ready to consider that what happens will always have a positive effect: "is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory " (v. 17b). Paul was a grieving man, tried to exhaustion, but he was aware that his adversity was not without a purpose. Affliction is inevitable, we cannot escape suffering, but like handmaids they are there to serve us in some way.

Only by passing through certain situations do we learn to direct our gaze out of time that passes and marks us inexorably, grasping and perceiving eternity beyond the materiality of the earth to live. ''While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (v. 18). One of the greatest athletes of all time, American sprinter Carl Lewis said, “My thoughts before a big race are usually pretty simple. Get out of the blocks, run your run, stay relaxed. If you run your race, you will win ... Channel your energy. Be concentrated". In the same way the believer is concentrated, he channels his energies, not to the things that are seen, but to those that are not seen. Then we should ask ourselves what we are focusing on. A few pages earlier Paul had written that we the fragrance of God for the world: "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing" (2:15). And it is when everything around us forces us, suffocates us to the point of fainting, it is precisely then that a perfume will begin to spread from our life: the perfume of Christ that spreads salvation and life around us.


Weekly Bible Reading

Plan # 12

March 14, Deuteronomy 22-24; Mark 14:1-26

March 15, Deuteronomy 25-27; Mark 14:27-53

March 16, Deuteronomy 28-29; Mark 14:54-72

March 17, Deuteronomy 30-31; Mark 15:1-25

March 18, Deuteronomy 32-34; Mark 15:26-47

March 19, Joshua 1-3; Mark 16

March 20, Joshua 4-6; Luke 1:1-20

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