As Soon As…

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

2 Corinthians 4:7-11
  • As soon as I have time to settle that point of theology.
  • As soon as my kids are a little older and more self-sufficient.
  • As soon as we get through this next church activity (that is consuming my study and prayer time!)
  • As soon as we get the building paid off.
  • As soon as I can stop working two jobs.
  • As soon as life calms down a little bit.

This is when my human wisdom tells me I can be really fruitful for the Lord. As soon as. Imagine if the apostle Paul had lived in the “as soon as” mentality. As soon as my persecutions are over. As soon as a majority of the Jews are converted. As soon as I get a few more seminarians trained. As soon as all the apostles are on the same page. As soon as I have a really reliable team. As soon as the churches get their act together.

But this is not what we find. Instead, the apostle is in the midst of being troubled on every side, perplexed and persecuted, cast down and carrying about the suffering of Christ. And does this trouble him? No, he thinks that this is the plan. He thinks that God has ordained such a state of affairs specifically so that the heavenly treasure will not be mistaken for its earthly container. The chaotic fragility of our lives is allowing the power of God to be known in all of its excellency.

I find myself, even in mid-life, often confused about these things. Longing for a day when I can be truly fruitful for the Lord because all of life’s circumstances have suddenly fallen into place. Missing the daily joy of seeing God work in the midst of life’s relentless roadblocks despite my tiredness, despite my lack of eloquence, even my lack of ability. Maybe I need a new set of “as soon as” statements.

  • As soon as I stop believing that I am the one who brings fruit.
  • As soon as I start enjoying the journey as much as I long for the destination.
  • As soon as I see the blessings God has given instead of longing for the ones He hasn’t.  
  • As soon as I realize that I will always be an earthen vessel, and the excellency of the power will always belong to God.

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