What I’m Reading Today: 2 Corinthians 7
If you were to ask me what the “best” thing that has ever happened to me was, you would be surprised at my answer. I would say, “It was when my candidacy for ordination was discontinued by the denomination in which I was raised because of my sexual orientation.”
“Why would you pick something negative or painful like that?” you might think to yourself.
I would choose that experience because it opened an entirely new world to me. You see if my life had unfolded exactly as I had planned, I would have simply taken my ordination for granted. I would have treated it as the next logical step in a life that was devoted to the church (and I probably would have said it just like that). My language would have been very telling.
Getting derailed from my quest for ordination, however, forced me to question everything. It made me question my motives for seeking ordination and made me explore my call in challenging ways. I came through this period of distress with a new understanding of my ministry: I was called to serve God (note the change in language). Through the painful experience I gained a sense of peace and purpose in my ministry for which I am extremely grateful. That’s why I would say that experience was the “best” thing that has happened to me.
Paul seems to be speaking to just this sort of experience when he wrote these words to the believers in Corinth: “And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible.”
Maybe you have had a painful experience in your own life: an experience that might have seemed as if it were the end of the world at the time. In many ways, that experience probably was the end of the world – at least the world as you knew it. As you look back on the experience, however, it might have opened you up to entirely new dimensions of existence and relationship with God. If that’s the case, take a moment and sit with the ways in which your pain became an impetus for transformation; then realize this Lenten season that if that’s the case – you’re in good company. The pain which Jesus experienced was transformative as well.
Til next time…