The past few weeks have been extremely hard for me, as the Thanksgiving season transitions into Christmas I reflect on the painful loss of my 1st Cousin Raymond to suicide two years ago. The pain of loosing my cousin is some baggage in my life that I have been carrying and know now that I need to let go of. I recently preached a sermon about letting go of baggage that weighs to much for us to carry and give it to God! As today is World Aids Day, December 1st, I cannot help but to reflect on the loss of life to this deadly virus. Forty million people worldwide struggle with this illness. 2.3 million of them are children, 70 plus percent are considered African, African American or Black. As I reflected the following scripture reminded me in spite of trauma, tragedy, and illness we must keep our heads high:
2 Corinthians 4:8-15 (New International Version)
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
The Apostle Paul's words pour strength into my saddened Spirit this morning. Paul writes to the church at Corinth who is under immense strain and persecution saying don't quit, don't give up hold your heads high, because you carry Jesus, who lived, died, and rose. The Jesus we bear defeated death and can defeat all diseases, issues, problems. All of this for our benefit so hold your heads high today trusting that LIFE is at work in each one of you! For God alone has the last say so, in time of sickness, death, suicide and disease. Let others see the Christ in you so that they also may come and find strength, faith and salvation.
Loving God today we pray fore persons everywhere living with HIV & Aids, God please give the the courage to live boldly for you, the strength of Paul's words to not be perplexed or dismayed but to turn to you who is able always. Today give us comfort and peace in our lives, in Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Until next time, Be Well P.J.