The Battle Tested Servant
My brothers, at times we may find ourselves in the most difficult circumstances. We have an enemy who hates us beyond measure, and whose goal is to steal, kill and destroy. So don’t be surprised when you find yourself in a difficult and maybe a dreadful way.
My hero, the Apostle Paul, was often in harm’s way as he sought to preach Christ. He mentions to the Corinthian believers that he was in a terrible situation that caused him tremendous anguish. Warren Wiersbe notes, “When God puts His children into the furnace, He keeps His hand on the thermostat and His eye on the thermometer (1 Cor. 10:13; 1 Peter 1:6–7). Paul may have despaired of life, but God did not despair of Paul.” (Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). BEC (2 Co 1:8). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.)
Read the following from 2 Cor. 1:8–11…
8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia (possibly Acts 19:21ff): that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.
9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead,
10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,
11 you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.
Wow! The glory behind it all is found in verse 9! God allowed this difficulty in order that Paul would not trust in himself, not even a little bit, but in His God who raises the dead. It not only caused him to look at the present, but into the past and into the future, recognizing that God has, is and will yet deliver him!
My wife and I when faced with difficulties and discouragements will often say to one another, “Yes, this is a hard situation, but we believe in the God who raises the dead!” I encourage you to claim this same truth, both in the good times and in the tough times.
My dear brothers, let us not be tempted to rely on our own abilities, gifts or strengths, but may we live in the reality of the power of His resurrection! And let us continually give thanks for Jesus is our living hope!
Let us pray for one another,