Having been an English teacher, I can say I truly found prepositions to be one of the more annoying parts of speech. I mean, nouns are essential to naming things; pronouns personalize them.Verbs give voice to our actions. Adjectives and adverbs color our speech (although they can be overused). Interjections allow for expression. Even conjunctions have a place in tying everything together.
But prepositions? That list of mundane words we forced kids to memorize? They perched precariously on the slanted lines of sentence diagrams. Most students were sure the only purpose was to confound them, confusing adjective and adverb phrases, and inviting red slashes when used to end sentences.
Recently however, reading through Colossians and certain other passages, a few prepositions have taken on utmost importance for me.
The Place of IN: We are IN Christ. Paul exhorts us to be rooted and established IN him (Colossians 2:6). But more than mere position, we are invited to dwell IN Christ, to live and move and have our very being IN him.
The Power of WITH: Of what value is our relationship with God if it is not rooted in a community of believers WITH whom we are doing life together? WITH whom we can wrestle with and dive into Scripture. WITH whom we can be honest and transparent about our struggles, and WITH whom we can praise and worship God and celebrate life together.
The Promise of THROUGH: I was talking with someone the other night who is in the midst of a very trying situation. And I was reminded of and shared some verses I’d received in an email newsletter: When you go THROUGH rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk THROUGH the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up . . . ” (Isaiah 43:2). THROUGH can be difficult and painful, no matter what the situation. But THROUGH indicates that we don’t have to be stuck, that we can learn and grow and experience victory.
So I’m hereby renouncing my dislike of prepositions. I’m start giving those little words their rightful place of esteem!