Down, But Not Out
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Sometimes life knocks us down. Like a boxer drops to one knee after a punch from his opponent, we can be struck down by insensitive souls or untimely trials. A critical evaluation of our work can feel like a jab to our face. A friend’s decision to walk away from their family is like a kick in the stomach. Financial pressure, relational stress, physical illness and religious persecution can all take a toll on our soul. Even if we fall on our face, God’s grace lifts us up. We may be down, but not out.
When we find ourselves down, it means the Lord is up to something. When we are on our backs, we look up to Him for hope. When we are stressed, our Savior gives us a refuge of rest. When we hurt He heals. When we drift, He disciplines us. Our heavenly Father does not abandon us when others walk away. Disappointment drags us down toward despair, but Christ lifts us up and repairs our broken dreams. A transition may feel long, but He grows our faith through it. Down, but not out.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).
Society's mores that once reflected righteousness may give way to unrighteousness, but the Righteous One still reigns. The Body of Christ may suffer a black eye from our judgmental attitudes and apathy toward sin. But God’s influence has not been extinguished. The church is blemished because it is made up of imperfect people. Its reputation is bruised but the Lord’s reputation is without question. Jesus lifts up His bride, the church, to bring Him glory.
Therefore, we look to the Lord to lift us up. Since God inhabits the praises of His people, we praise Him in the middle of our malaise. As we lift Him up in worship our heavenly Father lifts us up in His love and sweet fellowship. By faith, Christ comforts our downcast soul. Thus, we persevere through trials. We don’t give up, because Jesus lifts us up. We take a step back for Him to prepare our hearts, then we move forward confidently in His strength. Down, but not out.
“I trusted in the Lord when I said, “I am greatly afflicted” (Psalm 116:10).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I praise You for lifting me up when I am down. You revive my soul.
Related Readings: Psalm 22:3, 145:14; Hebrews 10:32-36; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 2:10