Last month, I shared a sermon series about generosity; and as I was preparing for the last sermon, something in the scripture hit me hard in my chest. In 2 Corinthians 8, The Apostle Paul was describing the generosity of the churches in Macedonia. There was a great need and the apostles were receiving relief funds to help some of the saints that were in dire straights. The churches in Macedonia urged the apostles to participate in the relief efforts, and this surprises Paul because the people of Macedonia were living in poverty themselves.
Eugene Peterson’s interpretation of Paul’s thinking is what jarred me:
“Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor.” 2 Corinthians 8:2 (The Message Bible)
Their trials exposed their true colors. (WOW!)
This hit me so hard because our trials often have a way of revealing what is really on the inside of us. Many of us become whiny, like spoiled entitled brats, when we go through stuff. For these types, their trials reveal their self-righteousness. Lots of people become distraught, disoriented, and full of self loathing when they go through stuff. For these types, their trials reveal lack of trust in God, HIs plan, and HIs process. But for the Macedonians, their trials exposed their true colors: “They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor.”
What will be revealed in you, when you go through? When everything around you is crumbling, what will shine through?
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“True Colors” Written by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg. Produced by Cyndi Lauper and Lenny Pentze. Performed by Cyndi Lauper. Released 1986.