Many years ago I was startled to hear someone quote 2 Corinthians 1:8 as follows “We do not want you ignorant brothers”. I soon discovered that this was what happened when punctuation is omitted from a sentence! That said, there are, sadly, some sections of the Christian church who seem to echo this sentiment. There are preachers who suggest that following Jesus will produce success, wisdom and wealth – and if someone is suffering, or is in financial trouble, or is depressed, then they are “ignorant” of Jesus. This passage from 1 Corinthians suggests otherwise: Paul writes of how he and his companions were “so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself” (vs 8). If Paul, the faithful Jesus-follower, has moments of suffering and despair, then any other Christian can admit to struggle in life.
Let us not judge a person weak because they are despairing of life. Let us rather give them courage for the road ahead.
Palm SundayThe Wounds and Sorrows of Ministry
Scripture reading taken from A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants p.136