Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Product of Affliction

2 Corinthians 8:2 KJV
How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

Leaping out of this page are the adjectives/superlatives the apostle pours into the text:
·       Great trial
·       Abundance of joy
·       Deep poverty
·       Abounded unto riches
Nothing about this passage is average. The Macedonians knew nothing of the blasé sort of Christianity. Theirs was full on faith; mountain tops of brilliant victory accented by the darkest hues of valley life.

I came to view this passage as a sort of science experiment. Inside the petri dish filled with the “great trial of affliction”, were placed two elements:
·       Abundant joy and
·       Deep poverty

What would be the product?

Someone might speculate that the two negatives:
·       Great trial of affliction
·       Deep poverty
would overwhelm the joy and kill out any positive product.

Ah, but we must never forget from whence this joy springs. This is none other than the grace of God through Jesus Christ their Lord. In Christ there is not only joy but there is
·       peace and
·       hope and
·       love
Through Christ nothing is impossible. God, whose mercies are new every morning, can turn the most negative circumstances into good. Trial and afflictions no matter how great, poverty no matter how deep are but catalysts for the growth of greater faith.

The result?

The dish “abounded unto the riches of their liberality”. They gave not only what they could but beyond. They gave not only what was hoped for; they gave themselves.

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