DayBreaks for 6/12/14 – A Great “Nevertheless”

DayBreaks for 6/12/14 – A Great Nevertheless

NOTE: This week’s DayBreaks are from the archives of June, 2004.

2 Cor. 4:16 (NIV)  – Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

May I confess to a bit of irreverent humor that I enjoy?  I really enjoy the British movie, Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail.  There are parts of the movie that are certainly irreverent and sacrilegious that I don’t enjoy, but there are other parts of the movie that make me howl.  One scene in the movie that you may recall is where King Arthur comes to a small bridge in the woods that is defended by the Black Knight.  The black knight forbids Arthur from passing, and a conversation first ensues:

“I come as friend, Black Knight,” says Arthur.  I have no dispute with you.  I seek only the Holy Grail.  Let me pass.”

“None shall pass,” the black knight replies, standing immovable, menacing, hulking.  “Turn back or prepare to die.”

A sword fight begins and Arthur cuts off the black knight’s right arm, with blood shooting from the wound.  “Now let me pass,”, Arthur says to the black knight.

“None shall pass,” the black knight repeats, how holding his sword in one hand.

“But I cut your arm off,” Arthur says.

“What, this?” the black knight says, looking at the place his arm used to be.  “That’s nothing – a mere flesh wound.”

The Bible carries no such illusions about life on this earth.  No mere flesh wounds here.  The wounds are much deeper than that – sometimes debilitating and deadly.  Paul makes no bones about it – losing an arm is no flesh wound.  Life, Paul says, is often brutal, ugly, lonely, full of trouble and bad things.  Trouble happens.  We are dying our entire life long…and outwardly, Paul says, “we are wasting away.”

But nevertheless, Paul says we don’t lose heart in the middle of this great battle.  Why?  Because inwardly, we are being renewed day by day.  The world, you see, tries to turn this around and inside out.  We attempt, at great expense and with great desperation, to outwardly renew ourselves each day, while inwardly we waste away.  We spend time and money to look beautiful, to live lives of pleasure, to feel good about who and what we are.  We diet, exercise, buy make-up, have plastic surgery and mud baths all in a useless attempt to reverse the outward wasting.  But we can’t stop it.  We can’t reverse it – it goes on in an inexorable march to the graveyard.  And in the meantime, while we spend so much time and energy on the outside, our inward person is wasting away.

So, the first thing we need to do to fix this situation is to place our hope in something other than outward renewal.  It’s good to stay fit – our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit after all – but if that is where our hope lies, it’s terribly misplaced and we’ve lost the battle before the swords are even drawn.

As Mark Buchanan suggests in Things Unseen, “I live by a great neverthelessNevertheless, though I die, yet shall I live.  Nevertheless, though the stall  is empty and the fig tree does not blossom, yet will I trust.  Nevertheless, though He slay me, yet shall I worship…Listen again, Paul says.  Every day you’re lugging death.  Living is a kind of dying.  But every day, you move closer to that day, when life – life in all its fullness, life without taint or shadow, life innocent of sorrow – swallows up death.  You don’t die – you’re dying now.  But one day a huge and pure vitality will overtake mortality.  God’s life will swallow your dying as sure as the earth drinks in the rain, and fruit and flowers spring forth from it.”

So, nevertheless, don’t lose heart!

Copyright by 2014 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for your promises for the future and the great “nevertheless’s” of Scripture!  In Your name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple

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Thank you!

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