Vulnerable Afflictions

I read the response of another the other day… “Who would you like meet?” His answer was “Jesus.”

And then another in a different place, oddly the same question posed. This person answered “Paul”.

Paul, the writer of, with certainty, eight books of the New Testament. Paul, who was a horrid man who was known as Saul who met Jesus and commenced with the telling of his truth from there.

At some point, I pencilled in clarification on a passage.

The verse describing the life of Jesus in me,

“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We carry around in us what Jesus died to save us from, our human tendencies, our vulnerabilities, our bends towards atrocities even. We carry with us the humanity of us and we simply seek to lessen its hold.

Paul knew who and what He had been. He celebrated when the “outwardness” of him was being overshadowed, wasting away by the developing of the inner him, Jesus in him.

He was focused on eternity and driven to tell others so.

That was his story line, the telling and retelling of his rescue for a purpose story.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:16-18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The words I wrote in the margin are barely visible, words forming a question about my own vulnerabilities and the display of them making me more aware of the human me… a gradual revelation, the changes to the heart of me.

I won’t say I’ve come a long way. I just know I am not the same, not who I was.

The same as Paul.

The margin as of today has a sketch of a girl in repose.

She sees how far she’s come and she knows she has a big part in how far she will go.

The coming to terms with her story being incomparable to any other.

She cares less although not quite enough yet about herself as she does others.

What’s your story?

She is accepting that her part is just to keep telling in written and painted creation, occasionally or eventually maybe before an audience or in a small circle.

Who knows?

We will not know fully unless we go, simply go forward to the places we get to glance back on and say,

I did it.

I kept going.

My story is not so scary as before, not so tinted by affliction colors.

Stronger.

Strongly, we step forward.

We leave behind us for others, through our stories.

We just prompt another to wonder.

We cause them to consider why we believe in something we don’t yet fully know, why we yearn to keep learning.

And given opportunity, we answer to tell,

We believe because believing is the closest thing to hope.

And because we our story of before, all of our vulnerabilities and afflictions only mercy references and notes for the rest of our story.

Believe and continue.

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