7 day plan

Power and Weakness

Day 1 of 7

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The God of Comfort

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. 4He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Reflection: 
We live in a perplexing and distressing time.
Most of our brain space seems to be given over to thinking about, and talking about, “the virus.”
This is right and appropriate. Yet in the midst of the crisis, we must continue to do life as normally as we can.
One of the things that is regularly popping up on my social media feed is an essay by C S Lewis called “On Living in the Atomic Age.” It was first written in 1948.
Lewis was addressing a fretful audience, who were living in the immediate aftermath of World War II. They had witnessed a nation use atomic weapons for the very first time. People were scared and they had every right to be.
Nevertheless, Lewis challenged his audience not to exaggerate the situation, not to overthink it.
Indeed, he gets quite pointed in the essay when he says this:
the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.
In the face of profound threat, we need to be aware, but we also need to keep going. We have to keep putting our kids to bed, taking out the rubbish, exercising when we can. And we do have to keep hearing from God in his word – not just playing find-a-verse for this moment – but expecting that God will continue to speak through any and all parts of Scripture, into every part of our lives.
Please join me over the next week as we explore lessons we can learn from the Apostle Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians, to help us keep going, with courage and in faith.

Prayer:  Creator God help me to learn from C.S. Lewis, and others who have gone before us. My strength is in you. Help me to manage the risks associated with the pandemic, but not to let it dominate my mind or that of my family. For it is in you that I find my hope and certainty, Amen.

Days

2 Corinthians 1:1-24

Greeting

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Timothy our brother:

To the church of God at Corinth, with all the saints who are throughout Achaia.

2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The God of Comfort

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. 4He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will also share in the comfort.

8We don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our affliction that took place in Asia. We were completely overwhelmed — beyond our strength — so that we even despaired of life itself. 9Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. 10He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and he will deliver us. We have put our hope in him that he will deliver us again 11while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many.

A Clear Conscience

12Indeed, this is our boast: The testimony of our conscience is that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you, with godly sincerity and purity, not by human wisdom but by God’s grace. 13For we are writing nothing to you other than what you can read and also understand. I hope you will understand completely —  14just as you have partially understood us — that we are your reason for pride, just as you also are ours in the day of our Lord Jesus.

A Visit Postponed

15Because of this confidence, I planned to come to you first, so that you could have a second benefit, 16and to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and then come to you again from Macedonia and be helped by you on my journey to Judea. 17Now when I planned this, was I of two minds? Or what I plan, do I plan in a purely human way so that I say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18As God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes and no.” 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you — Silvanus, Timothy, and I — did not become “Yes and no.” On the contrary, in him it is always “Yes.” 20For every one of God’s promises is “Yes” in him. Therefore, through him we also say “Amen” to the glory of God. 21Now it is God who strengthens us together with you in Christ, and who has anointed us. 22He has also put his seal on us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment.

23I call on God as a witness, on my life, that it was to spare you that I did not come to Corinth. 24I do not mean that we lord it over your faith, but we are workers with you for your joy, because you stand firm in your faith.