Pressures that converge when under affliction.
The pressure of locality.
The first is just the idea of being local. You are somewhere. Wherever you go, there you are. In order to do anything you have to be somewhere. And in verse five he says, “We came into Macedonia”, so that’s where he was. In that place. One place at one time. Someone will say, “Ah I can be in more places at once. “I can tweet, I can chat, I can whatever.” Yeah, but when you tweet you’re in one place in the world, not everywhere. You’re still finite, not God. And local places, Macedonia, local places, being in a local place can be exciting. I get to say in my first time in San Diego, “Wow, the last thing I expected “was how green everything is.” But as I’ve been talking to some of you who are local to the place, you’re letting me know, “Wow, we didn’t expect it to be this green either”. You know. Without that local knowledge I would’ve gone back home and said, “Man, I love San Diego, it’s like, green”. And then people would say, “What San Diego did you go to?” A local place, a local place is a privilege, it’s also a challenge. Same people every day. Rhythms of weather. Seasons. A time to mourn, a time to dance. Seasons. A time to be born, a time to die. In a place, the way the trees are, the way the birds are and the way they’re not. The joy of being able to go to a beach or the realization you are hours and hours away and can never do that if you wanted to without a lot of money. All of the differences of being in a place and here Paul is in one place at one time.
And I just wanna pause here to say you cannot be everywhere at once and you were never meant to be. You are not meant to repent because you can’t be everywhere at once. You must repent because you’re trying to be everywhere at once because everywhere at once is a word called “omnipresence” and there’s only one in the entire universe who possesses that quality and it isn’t you. Think about it. These folks in Corinth are not having access to Paul’s personal presence at this moment. They have a letter. He can’t be everywhere at once, neither can you. Locality is just a part of our life. I was on an airplane recently and a little boy did not wanna be in a seatbelt, did not wanna be in a seatbelt, and the parent kept trying to get the little boy in a seatbelt. It would be good for him to be in a seatbelt but the little boy feels restricted, doesn’t want that seat in that belt. He wants options, you know, and I think I am that little boy. There was once a time in my life when I thought, “I just wanna be a pastor.” I dreamt of it. I thought, “That would be the greatest thing ever.” And then I get to be one and I don’t want a seatbelt, I wanna keep my options open, you know. And the thing I thought would be so grand I find myself now looking and peering about throughout my life. It’s hard to be in one place at one time for some of us and it’s worth noting that that brings its own stresses but it also brings its own graces to us to surrender to the vocation and the place given until the Lord says otherwise. To be at our post, as John Calvin said, “Is a remedy for anxiety”, because we don’t have to wonder if we should be this place and that place and this place and that place. We have the freedom of contentment to trust that we are where we’re meant to be until He clearly says otherwise. One place, one time. Some of us have exhaustion because and pressure because of the place we’re in. Some of us are actually blessed in the place we’re in. We’re creating our own anxiety wanting the channel changer. Just check the other channels during a commercial just to make sure we’re not missing out on something and we’re like that. And for some of us we’re coming to realize it wouldn’t matter where you were, you wouldn’t be happy and the problem is, eventually, you get where you’re going and at that point we will have to surrender. Maybe we’ll make it hard on our kids if we have them. They’re telling us we can’t drive anymore and we’ll make it hard on them. They’re telling us we need to go into a particular assisted living facility, we’ll make it hard on them because we are not local. But we are and that is not a bad thing. Could you imagine Adam coming home in the garden, sets his shovel down, says to Eve, “Eve, I gotta get outta this place. “I mean Eve, I was made for something more. “I mean, this is about the kingdom, Eve. “We were made to do great things for God. “This garden is too small a place “for the greatness of a God like that, Eve.” And we’ve been doing that ever since. The garden was what God gave to them. That was their calling. His pleasure, their good.