7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
– 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (ESV)
I am reminded of this verse as I sit in my office cubicle yesterday morning, pausing to evaluate my state of unrest for the past two weeks. I reflected on this and realized that this verse, the state being described by Paul, is the very state that my spirit has been into. And another word popped into my mind: battered.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/batter), batter is a transitive verb that means three (3) things. First, to batter is to beat with successive blows so as to bruise, shatter or demolish. Second, it also means to subject to strong, overwhelming, or repeated attack. Lastly, it is defined as to wear or damage by hard usage or blows or to strike heavily and repeatedly.
As a social worker, I have seen women and children who are victims of physical abuse. Their bodies are more often than not full of bruises, with color varying from dark blue or violet to light yellow. Sometimes, they also have wounds and scab that attest to the intense blows and beating they received that are strong enough to cause their skin to break open.
Aesthetically speaking, if I were to describe their condition in one word, it would be ugly.
And that is exactly how my spirit feels like during the past two weeks. I feel ugly inside. I feel so abused, bruised, beaten deep down inside but no amount of that feeling can be seen manifesting in my outward countenance. Contrary to what I feel inside, people have been noticing how blooming or more beautiful I am becoming.
This, I feel, is a total cheat. I feel so cheated. Why? Because people do not understand how much my soul and spirit have been through based on what they see from my physical state. I also wonder why my body is not bearing signs of this ordeal I am going through.
To be honest, this assault to my soul and spirit is wearying. I am admitting tiredness and weakness. But I will never admit defeat. For even though my soul and spirit are dead tired, there is still a part of me that fights. A part of me that believes that things will become right again. A part of me that has faith that what was predetermined to be will be fulfilled. A part of me that still believes in God and His promises to me even as my reality manifests the total opposite of that promise.
I do not understand the need for this severe testing of my faith. I only feel in my spirit that something great and big is about to happen in my life, which necessitates this refinement.
For now, I only want rest to regain my balance, my focus, my direction. I promise to give myself that rest this coming holiday season as I immerse myself in the Reason for Christmas.