Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 1:8-11
Paul now shares something of his own personal suffering for Christ and how God delivered him from great danger. What Paul experienced happened in Asia, or more accurately the Western Province of the Roman Empire now known as Turkey. He describes it as being “pressed beyond measure” [verse 8]. He had no strength left, and despaired even of life! He wrote, “Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves” [verse 9]. The Greek word translated sentence is ‘krino’ and in secular usage meant the final verdict issued by a court of law, and implied the death sentence.
We have no idea exactly what the problem was that Paul faced, but whatever it was there was no way of escape! The difficulties were insurmountable; Paul despaired of life itself, and the only possible outcome, in Paul’s mind, was death! I love the honesty of Paul. He exposes his own weakness and inability to handle the situation that he faced. There was no other way but to trust God who raises the dead. He needed a supernatural miracle. Charles Wesley penned the words, “I link my earthly feebleness to Your Almighty power.”
Annie Johnson Flint wrote the words:
“When we come to the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father’s full giving has only begun.”
Paul did come through this trial. God did deliver him and his ministry continued, probably with even more effectiveness and power. The Message Bible reads, “And He [God] did it, rescued us from certain doom. And He’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing” [verse 10].
When God had delivered him, Paul was quick to thank the Corinthians for their prayers. Although it was God who delivered Paul from such danger, He used people who prayed. When my wife and I worked in a fanatical Muslim situation in Indonesia we faced several serious crisis, and were often in danger. I am grateful to the people who contacted us and asked what we were doing at a certain time because they were burdened to pray. It transpired that they were praying at just the time we were in the greatest need. We felt so grateful for those who interceded, and that was exactly Paul’s sentiment as he thanked the Corinthian believers.
Are you facing a seemingly impossible situation today and you do not know what to do? You have exhausted your limited resources. Will you trust God to deliver you?
Would you take time and be sensitive to pray, as the Holy Spirit leads you, for those Christians in difficult situations or going through severe persecution?
Do you think that God sometimes puts us into impossible situations so that we have to trust Him and not in our own ability or limited resources? Can you think of other people in the Bible who faced similar situations?