Relying on God
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. 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. 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. 2 Corinthians 1:4-9
From the text, the Apostle Paul expressed how he looked at sufferings in his life. For him, sufferings were used by God to strengthen him. He also realized that during times of suffering, God is there to comfort him. He also believed that his sufferings could lead to death and he knew that he can “rely on God who raises the dead.” For Paul, he knew he is not exempted from experiencing sufferings. In fact, he believed that because of his faith in Christ, he will experience glory just like the glory Jesus experienced when He rose from the dead. “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” (2 Cor. 4:16-17). But before Jesus experienced glory, He went through sufferings. Paul looked upon his sufferings as sharing with Jesus’ sufferings. “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering” (Romans 8:17). No believer in Christ will be exempted from sufferings. He allows difficult experiences in your life so He could develop within you the character of Christ. “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son” (Romans 8:29). God’s primary concern is for Jesus’ character to be developed in you. Without trials and sufferings, His image in you will not get developed. So for this to happen, God will take you through circumstances to which He took Jesus. The difference now that you are a believer in Christ is that you know you are not alone in times of crisis. This is why, in times of sufferings, do what Paul did; he stopped relying on himself instead he trusted God.
Noel De Guzman Westside Baptist Church Los Angeles, CA