Sunday, September 1, 2019
The King of Comeback
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh . . . So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory, beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
~ II Corinthians 4:7-12;16-18 (ESV)
Obituaries tell us the highlights of a person’s life, but if you read between the lines you know there were tough times. Every victory is punctuated by the faith to meet challenges, to face hardship, to overcome obstacles, to grieve sorrows, to heal from illness, to recover from heartache; to come back over and over from troubles and be: The King of Comeback. Whether these came in military service, building a business, a life-threatening illness for a child, making ministry happen in rural Appalachia, the loss of parents, a child, a grandchild, each time Bill’s faith brought him through, each time he came back. Over and over he battled cancer, coming back from that dread disease and beating it more than once. He was such an inspiration to me when I faced cancer; if Bill could come back from the brink of death with a full head of hair, so could I. But after his final battle here on earth he did not come back: HE CAME HOME!
We, too, are the kings and queens of comeback. The abundant life that Jesus promises us is created in the negative space, times of trusting God when difficulties multiply, trusting God that over and over there is going to be enough grace today for today’s troubles. Like Bill, we come back over and over and over again, until one day we, too, will come home. In every situation, we trust God that He will bring us through; bring us through affliction, through being perplexed, through persecution, even through being struck down, because in Christ we carry around the life, the very life of the Son of God, in our bodies. We are not crushed, driven to despair, forsaken, or destroyed because Jesus is with us, giving life to our mortal bodies. As we age our physical bodies get weaker and weaker, but our spiritual nature gets stronger and stronger. The life Jesus Christ gives sustains us in the troubles of this world, but it makes us indestructible for eternity. Walking by faith is how we always move toward life. The longer we walk with Him, the more life we gain. So the momentary afflictions of life, of sorrow, of trials and tribulations give way in the end to an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. That’s when we stop being the queens and kings of comeback and we come home to Heaven, receiving our crowns and stepping into a paradise of unending joy. Lean on Jesus when the times get tough, and count on Him to bring you through, to come back each and every time, until you finally come home. Bill will be there with his cowboy boots on waiting to welcome you in.