If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us.
As it is, there's not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at. We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do,
but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken.
What they did to Jesus, they do to us - trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us - he lives!
Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus' sake, which makes Jesus' life all the more evident in us.
While we're going through the worst, you're getting in on the best!
We're not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, "I believed it, so I said it," we say what we believe.
And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive.
Every detail works to your advantage and to God's glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise!
So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)