In fact, we felt sure that we were going to die. But this made us stop trusting in ourselves and start trusting God, who raises the dead to life.
– 2 Corinthians 1:9 (CEV)
We seem to live in a time of great anxiety. There are plenty of things to worry about. We worry about having enough money. Whether it will be enough to retire one day, enough to last as long as we do. Or it might be that worry that we’ll have enough to get by until the next payday, will there be more money that bills due next week.
We worry about our health, especially if something is going on, some disease or condition that has presented itself. When that happens, that condition tends to always be present in the back of our minds. Especially if it’s a more serious condition. Heart disease, cancer, or diabetes are conditions that steal our joy and keep us, at least to some extent, constantly worrying about them.
We worry about our children. As a new parent, I thought about my kids all the time. I thought that would change now that they are older. It hasn’t. Just a few minutes ago, Sarah left the house to go to work. Within a few minutes of her leaving, a fire truck zoomed by the house. I grabbed my phone and used the Find My Friends app to make sure she got to work okay. She did. That’s an app I’m very thankful for.
We worry about our nation, whether the course we are on is the right course, praying that our nation, and especially our leaders, will use Godly wisdom as they make decisions that affect us all. As I said earlier, there are plenty of things to worry about.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul opens with giving thanks to God. But then he talks about being in trouble, and how God helps us when we are in trouble. Then he talks about sharing in the suffering of Christ, and how he knows that the believers in Corinth are suffering, too. He finishes his thoughts of suffering by telling of a hard time he had in Asia. Verse 8 says, “Our sufferings were so horrible and so unbearable that death seemed certain.” And then we see verse 9a, “In fact, we felt sure that we were going to die.”
We worry about a lot of things. Rarely is our worry this serious. We rarely worry about our own imminent death. But Paul did. We see several examples in Scripture where he was at risk of imminent death. Where did he find the strength to go on? How did he find hope in such anxious circumstances? Where do we find hope in our anxious circumstances?
He gives us his take in verse 9b, “But this made us stop trusting in ourselves and start trusting God.” No matter how dire Paul’s circumstances got, he saw them as a call to trust God more. For Paul, every bad thing that happened made him stop trusting in himself and start trusting in God.
Here is a challenge for you. Can you adopt Paul’s attitude of suffering? When something bad happens, instead of worrying about the thing itself, can you see it as a reminder to stop trusting yourself and start trusting in God? Let everything that happens make you trust God more.