Read 2 Corinthians 1:8-11
8 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. 9 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. 10 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. 11 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. (NLT)
“Forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” The words of a song by Leonard Cohen who reminds us that our weakness and even our failures can be redemptive. A much surer spiritual guide, the Apostle Paul, says something similar in our text today. We get to the end of our tether, we descend to the pit, and we find that these are the places we encounter God.
We realise we cannot take life by the scruff of the neck and bend it to our will. Ultimately life is not ours to manage or control. Our resources are limited. And when we ‘crack’ the light of the grace of God can get in. Immersed in our world of self-sufficiency and competency, we may keep God at arm’s length. But when the cracks appear, he can get in.
In so many ways, the Christian life is one long discovery of just how helpless we are. And what rescues this from despair is the fact that our helplessness can drive us into the arms of the strong help of God. Which is what Paul is saying.
The various things that life throws at us can be a cause for giving up on God and on life. Or they can be a cause for clinging to him out of blessed desperation, occasions in which we can discover the power of powerlessness.