In 1577 St. John of the Cross, A Spanish Catholic priest, was devoted to a counter-reformation of the church in Spain that ultimately had him kidnapped and imprisoned. For those nine months, he was in a tiny, unlit cell that wasn’t even tall enough for him to stand. It was also his bathroom, and often his scraps of food were thrown on top of his feces and urine. He was pulled from his cell often and beaten, so badly that he became crippled. With no showers or change of clothes, he became riddled with infection and disease. It was during this time that he composed some of his greatest poetry and writings. Over several centuries, many have been blessed by St. John’s writings on the soul’s intimacy with God.
Our primal drive as humans is a longing for things to be good. St. John stood firm in his beliefs and stance on the reformation of the Catholic Church, so much so, that it caused this harsh time of his life to happen. He didn’t look back or long for good, instead allowed God to produce a work in him out of obedience.
In Paul’s 2nd letter to Corinth, he unpacks his personal testimony and shows us in chapter four why resiliency is a must in his ministry, no matter what. Just like St. John, Paul faced tremendous amounts of persecution including beatings, imprisonment, hunger, and sleepless nights, but never gave up, never allowing the human primal drive for comfort to take over. Paul’s desire for the Holy Spirit was the motivating factor to march onward. We have been in tough times for a few years now. Continual trials, one after another that has taken away the perceived normal good that was a part of our lives for a long time. The question is are we longing for things to be good again, to regain our comfort, or are we longing for the ministry of the Holy Spirit to thrive? Join us this Sunday to see what we can learn from a resilient Paul, and how our efforts can mimic his ministry to reach more and more people with the Gospel.