When faced with rough waters and stormy winds we ask:

Will I make it? Will God carry me through the storm? Is God enough?

A 4th century martyr, Severus of Thrace, wrote:

“To all who are tossed by the waves, Lord, you are the calm of the harbor; you are the hope of the hopeful.”

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We don’t give anyone any reason to be offended about anything so that our ministry won’t be criticized. Instead, we commend ourselves as ministers of God in every way. We did this with our great endurance through problems, disasters, and stressful situations. We went through beatings, imprisonments, and riots. We experienced hard work, sleepless nights, and hunger. We displayed purity, knowledge, patience, and generosity. We served with the Holy Spirit, genuine love, telling the truth, and God’s power. We carried the weapons of righteousness in our right hand and our left hand. We were treated with honor and dishonor and with verbal abuse and good evaluation. We were seen as both fake and real, as unknown and well known, as dying—and look, we are alive! We were seen as punished but not killed, as going through pain but always happy, as poor but making many rich, and as having nothing but owning everything.

2 Corinthians 6:3-10

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Storms take on many different shapes and sizes when they blow into our lives. But they might all be described using language from 2 Corinthians 6:4 – “problems, disasters, and stressful situations.” I don’t know about you, but I could probably put those five words at the beginning of a section in my diary and come up with plenty of material to fill that section!

That’s what the writer of today’s passage sets out to do in the verses that follow. We read a long list of physical, mental, and spiritual challenges he and his partners endured. At the end of this painful list, we might expect to read a bottom line that goes something like, “And that’s it! I quit! I’m sick of doing good and being treated badly. I’m so done.”

But the conclusion of today’s reading couldn’t be farther from that kind of resignation. We read instead about how, in spite of all the hardships, God’s power is enough to inspire love, happiness, and life.

Justin Joplin

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Is it possible, God, that my own problems, disasters, and stressful situations are pointing me to you? How am I supposed to grow in love through these kinds of challenges? You know, Lord; help me. Amen.

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As you go, carry this conviction deep in your heart: Through calm and chaos, God’s faithful love is enough to sustain you.

Justin Joplin

Justin Joplin serves as pastor of Lorne Park Baptist Church in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Originally from western North Carolina, Justin and his wife Kristy enjoy living as immigrants in an area renowned for its diversity and inclusivity. Justin and Kristy have two sons, J.R. and Reuben.

Nothing's Ever Really Gone

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