We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. – 2nd Corinthians 4 v 8
I believe these words are a prophetic picture of the body of Christ today, a snapshot of the church in this hour.
The verse is brutally honest about hardships faced by the church, yet it is infused throughout with hope and a hint of victory.
Yes, we (flesh and blood people) are the church. And yes, we are hard-pressed through circumstances, often perplexed with our problems, persecuted to various degrees and struck down in ways beyond the physical.
Unfortunately, persecution has arisen from within. It can be as common to hear slander against the ‘church’ by believers as much as non-believers, sometimes more.
But we cannot be stopped. Jesus has already declared the destiny of the church;
‘…on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of death will not overcome it.’
-Matthew 16 v 18
The church is like a rock. It consists of a solid community of people, built over many generations; layer upon layer. Formed in the midst of pressure and bound together by shared history and a deep heritage of faith.
Rocks are strong and useful for many purposes. They can be used to build and protect, they are a mighty weapon in a skilled hand. They can also be heavy and hard to carry. Awkwardly shaped, inconvenient to work with and difficult to disguise.
As we are as individuals, so it is with the church. We are the living, breathing substance of the church. The ‘body’ of Jesus Christ as a tangible resource on this earth. I imagine that as a people (the rock); we are chipping away at the darkness within society. Chip by chip, bit by bit we are making an eternal ‘dent’ that is ever weakening the fabric of evil in this world. Suddenly, it will completely break through and the light will come forth unhindered, clear for all to see. In that day, all who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
This is my prophetic picture of the church. The book of Revelation in the bible elucidates beautifully the fullness of what this will look like. It is glorious, it is solid. It is a rock. Let our words to others about the ‘church’ reflect this; reflect its beauty and strength, offer hope. When we speak against the church we speak against ourselves.
We are not crushed, we will not despair, we are not abandoned and we are not destroyed.
‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the sea, though the waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. God is within her (in us-the church) she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress ’- Psalm 46.
“What are men to rocks and mountains?”
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice