When it feels like you can’t go on
2 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NIV) We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, 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.
I often hear the statement that God will not give you more than you can handle. But I don’t know if I buy into that according to what I see in this passage of Scripture.
In the verses mentioned above, Paul gives us a snapshot of an experience of that caused him the group of people that were with him to despair for their lives. In fact, he says he felt as if they had received a death sentence.
This was something far beyond our ability to endure. Not something that was within their capabilities and all they had to do was look within to muster up the strength to push through.
This was something that surpassed the human capacity. It was something more than they could handle.
- So why would God allow someone to experience something that pushes them beyond their ability to endure as mentioned in verse 8?
- Why would why would God allow Paul this great servant of His to walk through such difficult times?
No need to guess. Paul actually gives us his answer to this question in the second part of verse 9.
Trust comes through testing
2 Corinthians 1:9-10 (NIV) …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,
Paul tells us that all this happened so they would not rely on themselves but on God.
The tests of life reveal where your trust is.
Paul wanted to be clear that His trust was in the one who had delivered him once, twice and would continue to deliver him.
God has been faithful and will continue to be faithful.
Talk the talk and walk the walk
It’s easy to say you trust God or that you walk by faith.
But how do you know? How do others know?
If you are never placed in situations that you can’t handle you never learn to trust or put your faith in God. If you only experience things that you can endure or get through in your own ability, you will never have to look outside of yourself for strength, hope, or grace of God to get you through.
In order to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.
Notice also that Paul says God has delivered him and will continue to do so.
Paul has had to trust in God before and He has been faithful.
So Paul’s faith in God has grown. He knows for a fact, without a doubt that God will deliver him because He’s done it before.
That’s how your faith and my faith in God will grow, as we see God come through time and time again.
A community faith
2 Corinthians 1:11 (NIV) 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.
Something that I think is overlooked too often is that our faith is as much a community faith as it is a personal faith.
Notice, Pauls personal faith was strengthened by his shared faith.
The prayers of the Corinthians strengthened Paul’s faith.
You don’t have to go through difficult situations or circumstances alone. Your faith can be strengthened as you walk through it on the prayers of your brothers and sisters.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV) Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
God lives in a Holy community of three. And He wants His people to live in a Holy community called the church. There’s strength in numbers.
You will find yourself many times in the middle of something that is far beyond your ability to endure.
Trust in God who has been faithful and will continue to be faithful and lean on your brothers and sisters to pray for you and be strengthened by your community of faith.