Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. – 2 Corinthians 1:9
When we were in the first few weeks of this coronavirus outbreak, I was doing my daily Bible reading, and I was reading 2 Corinthians 1. I love the early part of this chapter that says:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.- 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
These verses have encouraged me many times as they show that it is God who comes along side us in our troubles and brings us the comfort that only He can. When we’ve gone through something hard, and we come out on the other side, we then can offer comfort and support to others who may be going through a similar situation. This is how God’s love works in our lives. Similar to the notion that “we love because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19.
As I continued to read through that chapter the following verses just leaped off the page for me:
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. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 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, 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. – 2 Corinthians 1:8-11
I have no doubt at all that the Lord gave me these verses as a gift to help keep me strengthened and encouraged during this difficult time we as a world are going through. Basically, whatever trial or challenge Paul was going through was so great, that he was despairing of life at times. He then says he “felt” they had “received the sentence of death.” Let’s stop here for a minute. This is such a rich portion of Scripture for us during this time. As mentioned in the prior posts, and the name of this website, “The Inner Dialog” our thoughts are powerful. God’s Word tells us that we are “to let God transform us (my paraphrase) by changing the way we think” – Romans 12:2. The tough times Paul and his companions were going through were causing them to think in ways that lead to their discouragement and fear. However, he then shifts gears and thinks about how these times have produced their ability to see that they needed to rely on God, not themselves. He then goes on to remember that God has delivered them from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver them again. He says that on Him they have set their hope that He will continue to deliver them as the people he was writing to help them by their prayers.
There is so much to be learned from this small portion of Scripture:
- God uses difficult times to remind us to rely on Him and not ourselves.
- When we go through difficult times, we can have faulty thinking that lead us to great fear and discouragement, but if we think about what God has done and His faithfulness to us in the past, we can get out of the fear and trust in faith.
- Prayer is powerful.
God is good, and He is in control. As we continue to walk through this time of uncertainty, let’s turn to His Word where we can always find encouragement, comfort and strength so that we put our hope in Him that He will continue to deliver us out of such a deadly peril. And, let’s not stop praying as we wait and see what He will do and how we can give thanks for what He does on behalf of His people in response to the prayers of many!