"In Earthen Vessels"
Problems are problems. Pains are pain. Perplexities are perplexities. The challenges of our lives are real, and no faith and devotion to God will lead us to a life in our present existence where we do not feel the difficulties of challenge. No less than the Lord Jesus Christ revealed to us this reality of humanity as lived in a fallen world.
"My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death" (Matthew 26:38).
Many believers consider that spiritual maturity involves an almost stoic or dispassionate response to trouble. They do not consider themselves to have reached such a pinnacle of peace, but rather think that some Christians somewhere know the Lord so well that instantaneous response to challenge always characterizes these lofty ones' experience. Nothing could be further from the truth, and if it were, nothing would drive us further from authentic faith and faithfulness. Our Heavenly Father purposes that we feel the reality of our humanity. In the most basic sense, He made our nerve fibers to respond with pain when the body faces physical challenge. The rest of our earthly components follow suit, including mental and emotional response to problems, pain, and perplexity.
"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. So then death worketh in us, but life in you" (II Corinthians 4:7-12).
In our present existence, no human heart would long sense the need for the Divine heart if it could reach a plane of spiritual experience that precluded very real response to difficulty. Our fleshly proclivity to pride is far too influential for any believer to be allowed to experience life in such an impenetrable spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical fortress. Moreover, compassion would soon cease in us if we did not feel what it means to be human. Again, the path our Savior walked as "the Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" tells us that even a perfect, sinless Humanity in this present world must feel its pains. Our Lord "was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin" (Isaiah 53:3; Hebrews 4:15). The same path awaits us as problems present their pains, and their pressing us trust our Father and walk in compassion toward fellow travelers with whom we share the present challenges of life in a fallen world.
"We have this Treasure in earthly vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us."
(II Corinthians 4:7)
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
(II Corinthians 1:3-4)