Paul had faced enormous suffering in his life, even to the point of death, he writes. This suffering he experienced had literally taken him to the end of his rope. He COULD. NOT. GO. ON. ANYMORE. Paul wanted to encourage the church of Corinth, and now Christians can be encouraged today too, that our sufferings and the dark and lonely pressures we walk through in life have purposes to make us dependent upon God! Everything in defiance against God wants us to focus on ourselves, trust ourselves, believe in our own false sufficiency, and in our own common sense to help us through.
Yes, we walk through unimaginable struggles and griefs in this life, and most of us on a daily basis that we may have or may not have ever shared. Please don’t believe that just because you pray and love God and do good things for Him, that you won’t experience struggle or heartache. If you’ve lived life long enough, you know this isn’t true. However... God has sincere purposes for our afflictions and trials, and as Paul writes, it’s to press us deeper into Himself! His sovereign design is that we come to trust, experience and know, and grow and be transformed more into His likeness with everyday that He lends to us. Of course it’s good to pray that God would heal and send us relief, but don’t be so consumed and interested in God solving your problems that you miss what He is doing in the midst of them.
Suffering will either destroy you, or push you into the deep currents of eternal hope, and true hope in our eternal God, will not put us to shame. So take heart, and be courageous, because He has overcome the world.
Jennifer Wood, LPC
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