We have all done it. We have looked at someone else’s life and wondered why they “have it so easy.” We see a happy couple and think how perfect their relationship seems. We drive by the large, brick home and think how great it must be to live within those walls. We look and we compare and we covet. Nothing will discourage a person faster than comparisons and false assumptions.
Life is full of thorns and thistles. And everyone gets cut and scraped every now and again. When it came to his ministry, Paul was nothing if not honest.
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in Asia... – 1 Corinthians 1:8
Our witnesses and our ministries will be useless if we are not honest about our struggles. Broken people can not relate to pretend perfection. Paul lets the Corinthians know that he had intense trials while spreading the gospel in Asia. He was persecuted and suffered greatly.
Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death… – 2 Corinthians 1:9
Sometimes, when pain comes our way, it is so intense that we are certain we will just die. Maybe it’s a financial devastation or a health issue or a broken dream. Whatever it might be, when it hits, it feels like a death sentence. And, if it were up to us, it may very well be the end. But, when we feel the weight of a death sentence upon us, we turn to the One whom death could not contain.
But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. – 1 Corinthians 1:9
God allows suffering for a greater purpose. He wants us to rely on Him. That does not come naturally in our self-sufficient, it’s-all-about-me world. So, sometimes we suffer. The pain can be so intense that we are certain we will not make it through alive. Yet, when we lean on Him, we find that He proves Himself faithful once again. And then…
Then many will give thanks on our behalf… – 1 Corinthians 1:11
God gets the glory and we find that, even in our suffering, it was never about us. It is always and only about Him. God will not let our suffering be in vain. We must, however, be honest about our struggles. We must rely on Him to bring us through and trust that He will make something beautiful out of our pain.
Stacy Edwards is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ.