Relying on God
The apostle Paul’s perspective is extraordinary. Here is a man who gave up everything for Christ. He was at the upper echelon of the Jewish world and everything he had studied for and lived for he counted as nothing now that he knew Christ.
That takes faith in itself. But what is even more remarkable is the position he was willing to put himself in for Christ. In our reading from 2 Corinthians 1, he tells the ecclesia,
But what is even more remarkable is the position Paul was willing to put himself in for Christ
We don’t know precisely what incident Paul refers to here but, suffice it to say, he put his life on the line more than once. Despairing of life itself isn’t something any of us want to experience. Yet, look at what Paul says next,
That’s faith in action. To look at a situation in which you think you’re going to die as an education opportunity is astonishing. And look at the context where Paul starts the section off with the words,
He uses the term “comfort” (or as the word can also mean encouragement) ten times between verses 3 and 7. In the context of his dire situation, he called to mind the comfort we have from God in Christ.
To look at a situation in which you think you’re going to die as an education opportunity is astonishing.
Paul used his near-death experience as an opportunity to apply that comfort to others, “so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction” (v4). Then he says in verse 6, “If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation.”
Paul was not negatively focused on his suffering. He saw it as both an educational experience and a way to comfort his brothers and sisters. Even in the worst of circumstances, he saw God’s hand at work and used it as a way to learn and teach.
Learning to view our lives through such a lens is critical in enabling us to develop the kind of faith integral to a son or daughter of God. Finding comfort amid severe trials is possible when we realize we’re in the hands of God, who raises the dead.
Paul saw his suffering as both an educational experience and a way to comfort his brothers and sisters
Paul concluded that thought with
Bible faith is evidence-based trust in the living God. If you’re reading this, you’ve gone through trials, and you’ve made it through to the other end. God was with you, and He will be with you again. He has shown you by bringing trials into your life, providing learning opportunities, and developing your faith and character, that he is a living God and will not forsake you.
Like Paul, we can use our experiences to help others in their affliction. Faith in God working in our lives through trials means we can take the focus off ourselves and onto others, seeking to apply the wisdom we’ve gained to comfort our brothers and sisters.
Simi Hills, CA