“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters,[a] about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” 2 Corinthians 1.8-11
Troubles… they come to us all at one time or another. Even Jesus said, “In this world you will have troubles,” John 16.33.
Paul had troubles and tells the Corinthian church about them. Although he does not say what he was facing specifically, it was bad enough to almost take his life. The trouble, according to Paul, was one of “great pressure…beyond our ability to endure….so that we despaired of life itself.” It was trouble that almost led to death. It was so bad in fact that he “felt we had received the sentence of death.”
What do we do when we face troubles of such that we fear for our lives? I can’t say this has been the case in my life. The troubles I face are genuine but not life-threatening. But many do face troubles daily that put their lives at risk. Perhaps it perils from a job or persecution of some form or fashion. When facing troubles of any kind what are we to do?
Paul quickly answers our question when he writes, “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” He continues by reminding us how Christ already delivered us from death by dying on the cross and rising again to new life. He did this once, and “he will deliver us again.” Jesus isn’t one and done — he will continue to deliver his people if we rely upon his name to do so. And once we experience this deliverance, we “give thanks…for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
The bottom line is this — troubles will come. Some are life-threatening but most are regular daily moments of difficulty and strife. Many come from spiritual attacks or sin, seeking to draw our reliance, focus and attention away from the Father. Whatever the trouble, turn to God. Whatever the difficulty, dive into his Word. Do not let the trials of this world steal your joy. Find strength, help and hope in Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit in your midst.
Jesus told of there would be troubles in this world but he also said this, “but take heart, I have overcome the world.”
“O Lord God, help us to hitch our horses to your wagon! Help us follow in your steps and call upon your name. No matter the grief, the sadness, the disappointment or the fear, you are with us. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill us with your grace and love. Let us take Paul’s advice and put our trust in you. I love you Lord and praise your name. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen