Read 2 Corinthians 1:8-9
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. (NLT)
There is still a lingering thought in the minds of followers of Jesus that they might somehow avoid the worst in life because they are his disciples. Many of us have lived long enough to know that this is a delusion. True,we do not anticipate a life of bleak misery or constant hardship,but we can’t hope to avoid tough times. And these tough times actually cause us to cling more tightly to God. When we come to the end of our tether,then all we can do is cry out to God which draws us closer to him.
This is what Paul testifies to in this passage. There are certain difficulties we face that we figure we can get by with a bit of resourcefulness,grit,and planning. But there are other challenges which are quite beyond us. Paul reminds us that while these challenges are in no way pleasant,they actually cause us to lean on God. When all other props and support are knocked away,we only have him. When all other resources dry up,we only rely on him.
So it is good to see ‘impossible’ situations as opportunities for growth in faith and hope. We don’t pretend they are in themselves wonderful occasions,but they can produce wonderful longer term results. Facing our utter helplessness brings us face to face with the wise and gentle help of God.