The Apostle Paul, when he gets on a roll, can really describe the tension of Christian living really well. I’m sure the Holy Spirit is glad I like His writing style.
2 Corinthians displays Paul’s emotions about his life, and one of the greatest phrases ever penned to describe Christian life occurs in 2 Corinthians 4:8. Without further ado, well, maybe a little more ado, (ado, ado, ado) here is the phrase:
“we are perplexed, but not in despair”
Oh that’s beautiful!
Perplexed means–“to be in doubt, not to know which way to turn, not to know how to decide or what to do.” Oh wow! If that doesn’t describe my life to a tee (or is it to a tea?), I don’t know what does.
I don’t know what to do about my kids, people I’m trying to help, or anyone else for that matter. I have no idea what to do about state of the union addresses. I have no idea what to do about crime and punishment. I have my doubts about every possible solution, no matter how strongly and authoritatively it is stated.
Despair means–“to be utterly at loss, be utterly destitute of measures or resources, to renounce all hope.”
Seems to me, the difference between perplexed and despair is that despair has no hope.
Perplexed is saying “I have no idea what to make of state of the union addresses, especially since I’ve never listened to one, but brother, life goes on and in the end the King of Kings will set it all right.”
Despairing says, “If I hear one more word from any politician ever, that’s it, I’m done. Moving to Alaska and getting eaten by a bear.”
The world is filled with despair and because of the world’s despair, Christians should be perplexed. Christians should never despair, because in the Gospel, in the new life in Christ, there is hope and hope saves. We inherit a better world.
If there is no resurrection we are of all men most miserable. But there is a resurrection, so there is no need to despair!
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
That’s the state of my union, brothers and sisters!