Today’s Chocolate: Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Forest Mint
Today’s Passage: 2 Corinthians 4
I was in high school when I first discovered Sara Groves. If I remember correctly, my dad heard her song “The Word” on the radio and ended up buying her Conversations CD as a result. But the bridge of the song is this litany of scriptural truths:
I think it’s time I rediscover
All the ground that I have covered,
Like “Seek ye first,” what a verse!
We are pressed but not crushed,
Perplexed but don’t despair,
We are persecuted but not abandoned.
We are no longer slaves,
We are daughters and sons,
And when we are weak
We are very strong,
And neither death, nor life,
Nor present, nor future,
Nor depth, nor height,
Can keep us from the love of Christ,
And the Word I need
Is the Word that was,
Who put on flesh to dwell with us
In the beginning….
And just this morning, as I was reading today’s chapter, it hit me: almost all of her scripture selections are taken from Paul. How would Paul respond, knowing that Sara Groves had quoted almost exclusively from his letters? Would he say, “Sara, why didn’t you include any Moses in there? What about the prophet Isaiah, ‘How beautiful are the feet of him who brings good news?'” (Isaiah 52:7). I can only
imagine speculate, and as much as I love every single track off Conversations, I do think we can get myopically focused on Paul when he himself looked to the Torah, the prophets, and the Jewish wisdom literature to foster and enrich his understanding of the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
That said, one of the passages Sara Groves quotes in “The Word” comes from today’s chapter in 2 Corinthians. Reaching a fever pitch, Paul exclaims, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (9). I remember in college, wanting to get dug in, to be fighting hard and struggling to change the game, but to know that the struggle was worth something. And then after graduation, working in a speech pathology lab at the University of Cincinnati while drawing comics in the evening, there were moments when I realized I was dug in. I wasn’t comfortable or successful as the world might define it, but I was fighting resistance inside and out, and I was enduring for something bigger than myself. And no, that can’t compare with Paul’s struggles for the gospel, when Jewish or Roman authorities were out for his blood just about everywhere he went, but that’s the kind of thing he’s describing here. He explains: “Momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (17). The pressure is intense but ultimately insufficient to destroy. Grace is prevailing. That’s being dug in.