Friday, Fifth Week in Lent

by Matthew B. Harper

2 Corinthians 4:8-9– We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

If there is a theme song for our community church it is the praise song ‘Trading My Sorrows.’ The bridge for the song is based on this passage “I am pressed but not crushed, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed, I am blessed beyond the curse for the promise that endures that His joy will be my strength.” That is such a beautiful assurance.

Our culture tells us over and over again to simply ‘be happy’. But I have wasted many years trying to be happy, and it is a totally false preoccupation. It always requires something to be happy. Happiness comes from an external source. In prison our lives are almost totally devoid of the things that would make us happy. Yet we sing this song with great joy and abandon because we agree with every word. The feeling that allows us to be ‘struck down but not destroyed’ comes from the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, not from stuff.

As a child of God we should be in search for a reason for happiness. We have all of the stuff to live, but often nothing to live for. My reason is that deep from within I know the joy of the Lord, and that joy is my strength.

As the verse of that song goes “I’m trading my sorrows, I’m trading my pain, I’m laying it all down for the joy of the Lord.” I’m trading my search for happiness; I’m trading it all for the joy of the Lord.

That it may please thee to forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and to turn their hearts to you, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord” BCP 152

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