The Affliction of Paul

People’s problems may be different, but God’s response is the same: His strength is enough.

2 Corinthians 1:8-11

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our affliction which occurred in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead, 10 who rescued us from so great a danger of death, and will rescue us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, 11 if you also join in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons in our behalf for the favor granted to us through the prayers of many.

It’s easy to assume that problems in biblical days were nothing like ours. So, what can a first-century missionary possibly teach us about the adversity we face in the year 2022?

Though Paul’s culture was quite different from ours, some things were the same—like temptation, hardship, and sin. Satan was a threat then as he is today. Therefore, when the apostle wrote of being burdened beyond his strength, he had experience to back up his words.

Though Paul may have “despaired even of life” (2 Cor. 1:8), he believed God would sustain him during difficult seasons. As Jesus taught, divine strength can overcome worldly tribulations (These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33). That isn’t to say believers can avoid all sorrow and pain, but we know the Lord will meet our needs in every heartache and trial (And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19). Our faith grows stronger when we trust Him in times of affliction.

God’s strength is available to all believers who confess their weakness and inadequacy. Sometimes a troubled soul has only enough stamina left to admit, “Father, I absolutely cannot. If You don’t, it is simply not going to happen.” And that’s okay because in this mindset, we surrender ourselves to God. And as we wait, we’re in a good position to watch Him keep His promise.

One Response

  1. I like that:) and when Jacob had finished wrestling with the angel of the Lord he used up all his strength and dependency upon himself and clung onto the angel of the lord and as some have said that the angel of the lord was Jesus himself and therefore trusted in God from that point forward with a limp given to him as a soft reminder never to depend upon himself anymore as long as he lived 🙂 of course we know he lives forever but his physical life was only the beginning of eternal life with God.

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