“This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. I am writing to God’s church in Corinth and to all of His holy people throughout Greece. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with His comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And He did rescue us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.”
2 Corinthians 1:1-11 NLT
Have you ever had a “but this happened”moment of clarity in something you were facing? Did it bring you to a place of remembrance and thanksgiving to God for all the other “this happened” ways He chose to bring you through? Paul and Timothy’s perspective on their suffering must’ve made the church in Corinth evaluate their own struggles and refocus. I have had my own “then this happened” experience that has produced exactly what Paul wrote about- Breaking the back of self reliance. God’s purpose for allowing suffering or testing is never to destroy us, but to nullify the spirit of self reliance.
Consider Job and what he went through. Job had everything money could buy and then some. But what he learned through his experience brought him to a reality he never knew. He penned these eye opening words:
“Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that You can do anything, and no one can stop You. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions My wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about You before, but now I have seen You with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”
When that happens, we get a whole different view of God as the One who orders the steps of those who are His. The apostle Paul discovered that the same God who raises the dead, and delivered them in their trials would do it again and continue to do so.(see also 2 Corinthians 12:7-10) What hope! What confidence! Most of us would backslide, declaring we hadn’t signed on for this. Life was better in the pig pen, or so we think. Paul and Timothy saw the experience as an opportunity to spur on the faith of those who had stood steadfast in prayer for them. They didn’t make the experience about them, but rather gave glory to God.
If you haven’t already, one day you’ll face a “but this happened” moment. May your response be as the apostle and Job. It’s an opportunity to know our Father better. No matter what our service to the Lord may cost us, it pales in comparison to what He suffered for us. With hearts of gratitude we submit to our challenges. Being confident that He’s working everything out for our edification and His glory. We’re learning total dependence. Wasn’t that what Paul said they learned? Let’s read verse 9 again.
“In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.”
2 Corinthians 1:9 NLT
There’s purpose in everything He allows. We see testing and trials as happening to us, but is it? Paul wrote these words:
“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NLT
If we get a revelation of these words we will never view life from an earthly perspective again. No, we don’t pray for suffering, but when it comes, we’re better prepared to walk through it if we are yielded vessels to a higher calling. Remember your vow of submission and surrender? Then suffering is a part of the package. Jesus called suffering for Him a blessing. Matthew 5:11.( see also 2 Timothy 3:12 & Philippians 1:29)The trials of our faith produces patience, so writes the brother of our Lord Jesus.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
James 1:2-4 NLT
But look what it produces: A need for nothing! That, my friend, is true victory! So let’s continue walking confidently in hope. Not the wishy stuff the world knows, but Hope the person, Jesus Christ. We have confidence in Him alone. He has promised to see us to the other side safely, no matter how loudly the wind howls, or the raging fire or storms assail. We, like Paul and Timothy will boldly say.” 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 continually deliver us.
Give Him glory!! Hallelujah to the Lamb of God! 🙏
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit