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i have been drawn to and intrigued by 2 Corinthians 2 this week…
Paul was comforted by them, but didn’t want to burden them with additional grief? There are those we go to in our grief – those beautiful trustworthy souls who pray with us, cry with us, and walk through the sorrowful journey together. It appears Paul pulled away for a season both because they needed space to let God work on their heart and because he had been wounded there.

Sometimes we have to pull back from a place where crops should be growing, to give the soil time to be re-nourished. You can’t grow good crops in depleted soil.

As I contemplate this chapter, I find joy in the ending: 
For we are the fragrance of Christ… 
To one the aroma of death… this picture of a field is still with me – death is often the beginning of life. 
Doesn’t letting those withered crops lie on the ground add nutrients back into the soil as they decay? 
Isn’t a seed dead until it is planted? 
New life can spring out of this empty, fallow land… in time… in season… maybe not today. We must wait for the correct season.

Ah… then there’s the fragrance of life… when the soil has replenished and produces amazing crops. 
We are going into fall… the leaves are turning and ready to fall to the ground. 
In some parts of life, this is a season of letting the soil lie fallow until it is ready to receive seed and produce fruit. This is the season of stepping back and letting Jesus work that which needs to be nourished.

I’m not a good waiter… but I am able to pray through it. 

Deeper Still
23 But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much [a]grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

2 Corinthians 2 
“But I determined this myself, that I would not come again to you in sorrow. 2 For if I make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me?
Forgive the Offender
3 And I wrote this very thing to you, lest, when I came, should have sorrow over those from whom I ought to have joy, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all. 4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.

5 But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent—not to be too severe. 6 This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, 7 so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. 8 Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. 9 For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. 10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For [b]if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Triumph in Christ
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us [d]diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, as [e]so many, peddling[f] the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.