Someone who I dearly love said to me tonight, “I’m perplexed.”
I thought that was an interesting word. One we often don’t use. And I wondered what God’s Word said about it.
1 Corinthians 4:7-9
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
The concordance in Pat’s Bible says this about verse 8:
Hard pressed is translated afflicted in 1:6. In the Greek text, an identical expression occurs in 7:5, where it is rendered “troubled on every side.” But in 7:5 Paul adds, “Outside were afflictions, inside were fears.” Thus every side means “inside and outside.” Yet Paul was not crushed, a compound Greek word from the words for narrow and space. Perplexed is derived from two Greek words: the word for no plus the word for way. Thus perplexed means “to be at a loss.” One is perplexed when one sees no way out. Yet Paul was not in despair, which means, “utterly at a loss.” As believers, we will face trials. But we must remember that God controls trials and uses them to strengthen His people. God’s glory is manifested through broken vessels, through people who endure troubles by relying on His power.
Wow, good stuff.
Now I don’t know about you but when I look at my life – and really consider the people and world around me – I’ve had it pretty cushy and the “trials” I’ve had to endure haven’t really been that perplexing or hard-pressing.
But still we all have circumstances in our life that cause us to be perplexed and hard-pressed. The one thing that stood out to me in Pat’s Bible is in verse 8 the word are is italicized. We are hard-pressed on every side. We are perplexed. Trials are going to happen. So how do we react?
Recently something happened that caused me to be perplexed and hard-pressed. I had a plan. It was a good plan. I thought it was God’s plan. Turns out that while it might have been a good plan, it wasn’t God’s plan. And so the first thing I did was throw my hands in the air allowing despair to take over. According to my crushed spirit, it was the end of the world.
What God so gently reminded me of though was that He still has a plan. I was looking at today which is just a tiny picture of the entire plan. Just because things didn’t turn out the way I thought they were going to or the way I thought they should doesn’t mean that God isn’t able to work through this circumstance. But it’s in His timing and not mine. While I’m waiting God calls me to not be crushed…to not be in despair.
While it’s not always easy – it certainly is freeing when I release my expectations and my plan to His perfect ways and thoughts and timing. I’m reminded that, um oh ya, I’m not in control. And it’s not all about me.
So while you might be perplexed or hard-pressed today, I pray that you aren’t crushed or in despair. I pray that you will be reminded that God’s glory is manifested through broken vessels, through people who endure troubles by relying on His power.