For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
We feel like we cannot take another step. Sometimes we feel like throwing the towel. No matter what we do we see no result and we are going nowhere and we give our best shot, and yet even with the best shot was not good enough. We feel like giving up to solve our problems. We have tried all different things different ways and yet nothing works. That’s when we feel helpless and hopeless. We all experience that in our lives. Some people struggle with their marriage. Doesn’t matter what they do. Somehow, nothing seems to work. Some people struggle with their teenager children. They love them, but they don’t know what to do with them. Sometimes teenage children, students a, feel that with their parents, no matter what they do, you cannot, they get never pleased them. I remember my daughter, my own daughter used to say, we can never please you guys. Teenage students, they go through their own struggles. Some people struggle with their health, they try their best, but it does not work and they don’t know what to do.
When you feel that, what do you do? When you feel this helplessness and hopelessness, what do you do? I suggest that you go back to the basics, go back to the basics. What are the basics? Look to God. That’s what basic is, you have to look to God. That’s exactly the moment that you need to look to God. When we look into today’s passage, even Saint Paul the greatest disciple and apostle who founded Christianity. Even that great Saint experienced, the same thing as we experienced: total exhaustion, total helplessness, and total hopelessness. He also felt that there was nothing for him to do anything. He said he was afflicted in every way, but that’s not all, he said, he confessed that he had looked to God. He went back to the basics. He looked to God.
This was what he said. “For it is the God who said, let my shyness that God has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. He looked at God and then somehow as he, look to Jesus Christ the light of the glory, shone upon him and he saw that light and he was filled with that light and that light gave him hope and new strength. He had this spiritual moment of experience in the power that did not belong to him. He experienced the power that comes from outside himself. He didn’t know what to do but somehow as the light of glory shone upon him he experienced empowerment in life.
A Helping Hand
Spiritual people, look to God. I hope that we all become spiritual people. When you have problems, don’t look anywhere else. Just look to God. They don’t go to self-help books. They don’t go depending on common sense or street wisdom. They don’t trust their own power alone. They looked to God when their problems been looked to God. If you are able to do that, you are lucky. We have to live a spiritual life. As we live, a spiritual life, we will experience the extraordinary power that doesn’t belong to us. People who look to God, need God, the people who need God they experience the power that comes from God. Saint Paul looked to God and he met God and as he met God he experienced the power that did not belong to him but that belongs to God.
There was a famous concert pianist, the early part of 20th century. His name was Ignacy Paderewski, 1860 to 1941. He was also prime minister of Poland. There’s a very famous story about him. He once had a great concert hall. He was so famous at that time. There were lots of people came. There were all waiting for his performance with excitement and enthusiasm but the time came and he didn’t appear. So people were wondering, “why isn’t on the stage yet?” While they were wondering, a little boy came down the aisle and started walking towards the stage. Everyone looked, what is he doing. And he went up to the stage and he went over to the piano and the sat down and he started playing Chopsticks. It was the only song he knew how to play. Chopsticks. And then people were kind of mumbling to each other “what is he doing,” “where are his parents,” “they should take him down,” and all kinds of commotion going on. And then Paderewski, in the back of the stage. He heard this commotion, and instead of telling the usher to remove him, he came out in the tuxedo and he came behind the little boy who was playing chopsticks, with his big hands on the right side and left side. He was doing improvising the accompaniment of Chopstick. The ordinary playing of a little boy became an extraordinary masterpiece. Do you know what he said to the boy? “Keep playing. Keep doing it. You are doing very well. Do not stop. Do not stop. Keep playing.” While he was doing the improvise accompaniment.
Listening to this story, I was thinking about [unknown]. With our small hands. We are trying to make our life. We struggle and struggle and struggle and then the big hands come behind us and start playing our life. And then our life becomes all of a sudden extraordinary. Our ordinary life becomes extraordinary. And God speaks to us; “Keep playing. Keep moving on. Do not give up. You are doing well.” Sometimes we all feel like giving up. I’m done. I can’t go anymore. And yet God comes to us, do not give up, keep moving, I’ll be with you. And he plays the music with us. I wish that you all experience God coming to you. I wonder what would have happened to that boy. There was no record of what happens to the boy. I can imagine that he will never forget the experience that he had in his entire life. Once you experience that extraordinary power, you will never forget that. You will always look to God. When life is difficult, we need to experience God’s hand then our difficulties become our blessings. When life is good, we don’t experience blessings. When life is difficult, those difficulties can become blessings in disguise. When life is hard, look God. The fear will disappear in the background and new confidence will appear in the foreground. Anger will die down and you will be able to embrace your life. Dark clouds will move over and you will see a bright sunshine. That our life will be much more enjoyable. Are you going through a hard time? Difficult time? Learn to look to God, you will be stronger.