Triune God of love, you know what I need.
My reflections this morning seem to fit this this prayer. Learning to share in community, I thought I would share with you, that I might gain insight… Feel free to comment, particularly if you have struggled with the pain of a broken love relationship.
27th January 2024.
2 Corinthians 6.
“O Corinthians. We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open.”
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. Paul is broken hearted that they are listening to false teachers, and that there are divisions in the church. Understandably, he is also deeply hurt that his motives and care for the church is being openly doubted and questioned.
Paul’s testimony is autobiographical here: he is sharing elements of his life and ministry with them, no doubt things they have already known and witnessed in his life as he has worked among them. I’m reasonably sure it was the church in Corinth he alludes to his ministry as a father and as a nursing mother.
I’m struggling to understand what he shares, though I notice three lists:
In all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God (verse 4), and then he names them: In much patience through to fastings (verses 4-5). In verses 6-8a he enumerates by purity through to by evil report and true; and then in verses 8b-10 there are comparative phrases, like: as______, and yet _____, as if in living out his life is a series of contrasts and complexities.
This perhaps, then, is one of the main points Paul is making. Life is complicated. Life is nuanced. It’s not wise to judge others simplistically.
O Corinthians! I hear such love and such anguish in these two words, in this heartfelt exclamation written upon parchment. Did those in Corinth hear it as well? I don’t think we are given any evidence one way or the other. We are simply hearing one side of a heart rending and honest conversation.
How does this impact me this morning? I conclude my love has been too shallow. No doubt my wife has felt restricted by my love. It was not her joy and choice to respect me. Even my giftings became minimized in her eyes. Like Paul, I could not do anything that was appropriate – in her point of view. Open dialogue and constructive communication was hindered as we pushed and pulled one another. I lacked the humility of the apostle Paul.
I’m beginning to understand how I’ve needed this time of solitude with You. Though Paul has been wounded by the believers in Corinth, he loves them with a fierce commitment. In contrast, I have taken off my wedding ring given by my beloved, and my diary evidences the ebb and flow of my commitment to her. I am not committed to her as a husband today, but as a fellow believer. I’m asking You for her healing in body, mind and spirit, that in the end she would know the satisfaction of Your Presence forever.
If we are to be reunited as husband and wife, I believe the resources You have made available to us give us a starting point. There are three books that have been instructive in these days of testing- at least for me. However, like Paul, it will not be about knowledge, but about communication. I has to be a meeting of the heart!
Life is complicated. Certainly I desire my wife’s good, even as Paul desires the believers at Corinth to prosper. Similarly, Your providential care for us will be worked out in the daily details of our lives. I have no need to worry. You are working out Your purposes for our good and Your glory. Who knows what losses and blessings are yet to unfold for us upon life’s pathway? Only You. You are with Your children, both now and forevermore. We remain secure in Your love.