Text: 2 Corinthians 1:1-11
Apostle Paul began this letter in the best way he knows to be human. After his brief greeting which always invoked the grace of God and its resultant effect of peace, he went ahead (for the first time in all of his epistles) to sincerely focus on himself and unashamedly talk about his trials and troubles. His aim was to show his readers, who are also his companions and brethren in faith that he is not superhuman, but an ordinary man helped by grace. This letter is an eye opener. It is written to all young Christians and mature believers alike. It shows us that we never overcame anything by our own power, self will, strength or intelligence. Every success we ever recorded in ministry, every trial we’ve overcome victoriously, every sinful habit we mastered was because we received strength from the one who comforts us. And so he says in verse 3
“blessed be God, even the father of our lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies and the God of all comfort”.
In lamentations 3;22 we see:
It is of his mercies that we the sons of Jacob are not consumed because his compassion fail not; they are new every morning…
He is indeed the father of all comforts. He allows troubles to come to us, not because he contradicts his nature of being a loving father but rather that through these challenges we will be pruned, taught, toughened up, strengthened and above all learn to rely on God always instead of our own unruly self will. Paul was a confident young man, smart, intelligent and full of book knowledge and wisdom. But God was ready to bring him into a class where he would unlearn self reliance and learn total dependence on God.
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In his suffering he was brought to the lowest ebb of depression even to the point of feeling like a death sentence was hanging on his neck (verse 9). It must have been a most troubling situation. It was a moment of despair when every hope was gone, yet God showed up at the right time, to make everything right again and made a way of escape beyond what he could bear. This is the lesson that God wants us to learn today. The afflictions, trials, stress persecutions or troubles… Whatever name they go by, which come to us in the course of running this race, do not necessarily come to break us but to instruct us and help us realize that
“it is not of him who wills nor of him that runs but of God who shows mercy” (Romans 9:16).
We need to learn to depend total on the promises of God as the sure rock of anchor on this journey trusting steadfastly on him no matter what that he will come true for us in every situation and release us the strength to pull through. More so, we learn from our troubles how to help other young believers who are looking up to us. Paul sharing his suffering and deliverance with these younger believers will sure help them realize that the Christian is not exempt of any trials but will definitely receive help from God in each of them.
Prayer: thank you father, the God of mercy and all comfort. You always comfort on every side when pressures seem overwhelming. As our faces are different, so our peculiar challenges. Today, as we gather in worship before your presence as one body, may you release yet again, a fresh wave of grace and mercy upon us that we may keep on forging ahead no matter the challenge that may come our way. This we pray in Jesus powerful name, amen!