July 2, 2021
Tennessee Valley District
We Can’t See the Forest for the Trees
2 Corinthians 10:7-11 (MSG)
In the opening verse of this short passage from 2 Corinthians, we find Paul midway through a challenging letter to the Church in Corinth. Throughout his letter, Paul fervently works to defend himself as an apostle. He articulates how his weaknesses, his humility, and his kindness showcase the strength of God. Paul is adamant that the minority of Christians in the Corinthian church, who boast to be the only ones truly a part of Christ, need to repent and recognize the centrality of suffering as a means of showcasing God’s glory. Paul’s confidence in his faith, even while suffering, is unyielding as he doggedly works to build up the people of God in Corinth (v. 8).
Paul is sharing good news with the Corinthians and he’s sharing good news with us today. There is much we wrestle with as a Church today. While we continue to do so, we can take solace in Paul’s wrestling with the newly formed church in Corinth. We are a people who have long been working to know what it means to be a community that belongs to Christ. Just as Jacob came away limping from his wrestling with God, sometimes we are also wounded as we work to form and love our community. The business of loving one another is often messy but Paul commends us to continue to work to form a Christlike community that reaches out to the people around us in love.
We are reminded in this passage that if we are not careful, “we can’t see the forest for the trees” (V. 7). We must remember the small but significant ways that we continue to do community together amid difficulty. Our heritage as Christians is to wrestle in the midst of difficulty so that we can be made into a new creation. But even in our wrestling, Paul encourages the people of God to continue to experience all of the signs of God’s goodness and love that exist amid imperfect communities in imperfect places with imperfect people. May we continue to build one another up in love and wrestle with our dark places and hubris so that we may experience the glory of God in our midst.
God of Jacob, who wrestles with us, and calls us to wrestle with our darkness and pride, come to us and give us eyes to see the forest and the trees. Help us to love one another, even in our imperfection, encourage our kindness and our humility, and give us a heart for building one another up. Be our guide as we wade into the waters of community. Give us wisdom, give us patience, and give us humility to love one another as you love us. Amen.