At different times I relate to different parts of these verses from 2 Corinthians: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” In fact, during any given week, I could probably easily tell you which words I was relating to. Over the last week, I have felt perplexed. A bit torn in my thoughts about certain issues, a bit at a loss as to how to go forward successfully in some areas.
The Next Generation
I host a Bible study in my home for high school girls on Monday nights. My, uh, “target audience” is girls from my church’s youth group. Thus far, I have had only one girl show up consistently. A few others come now and again. I haven’t been discouraged about the numbers–I taught these girls in Sunday School last year and was well aware that there was not a great desire to dig into the Word of God. I also have been blessed by small opportunities to go a bit deeper on a one-on-one level with the 1-3 girls that show up. But honestly, I have been feeling a bit dumbfounded recently. Even the girl(s) that show up have a serious lack of interest in the matter of….well….GOD. It breaks my heart! I love the Lord SO much and I know that these girls have heard the gospel of Christ many, many times and yet somehow it is not personal or important to them. I do not despair, but I am perplexed at how God wants me to reach these young ladies who have had so many opportunities to be reached! I am so glad that God pursues us passionately and persistently because I would hate for Him to give up on people as easily as I sometimes do.
Give Peace a Chance
Without a doubt, peace is an issue that is often on my mind. I speak in terms of peace in relationships, peace in the body of Christ, and peace in the world. As a Christian, I feel like the Church (that big body of believers worldwide) sometimes doesn’t speak of peace the way that Christ did. We may try to live out his words of peace in our personal relationships (or we may not…I certainly see peace lacking here, too) and try to turn the other cheek when an enemy attacks us. But even if we are doing this moderately well, very few believers are speaking out about peace on a larger scale. I’m perplexed. Christ preached a message of non-violence and peace, but I don’t understand how to explain this in view of the God of the Old Testament, who used violence and war to destroy His enemies. I haven’t despaired yet, though. While I’m all about peace–I just have to remember that it begins in my heart.
Through these tormenting questions (seriously, I battle these things in my mind so much lately!), I don’t despair. I don’t give up hope that young people will come to know the Lord and live passionately for Him. I don’t forget that peace must begin in my heart and so I pray for peace to reign in my own heart. Christ told me that hating another person was murder, so I am well aware that longing for world peace has to find its roots in my own little heart. So this week I will probably remain perplexed; next week might bring me something new. Thank heavens that God remains God through it all!