Countless times I have shared with friends, family, acquaintances, and church folk that we need to put God in charge of the different areas of our lives and the hard circumstances we find ourselves in.
No matter what is going, we need to realize that if we are in charge: we will probably get burned out, our work will seem to get nowhere, and we run our of strength, ideas, energy, patience, and determination. Most of us end up in a state of despair.
Does this sound like you at all? (it’s where I’ve been for the last week) If so, we’re not alone. While studying 2 Corinthians chapter 1 last night and this morning I discovered that even the Apostle Paul (my hero) was there too.
Paul shares about his troubles in Asia (modern-day western Turkey) where he faced persecution, physical and mental violence, and other unmentioned sufferings. And in the midst of all that, he shares this:
“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death.
I’m sure that you’ve felt like that before. So lost, burdened, and hopeless that you didn’t know if you’d make it to the next minute. Or you were faced with a situation that had no way out except for giving up. That’s how Paul felt. He realized that there was nothing in his own power or ability that could bring hope to the situation, as a matter of fact, he said that he was no longer able to ENDURE it. This brought him to a place where I like to call ‘the end of ourselves’. I believe that we find ourselves there from time to time to remind us of our need for God. See how Paul responds to his despair:
“But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us”
No matter how many times I preach it, I often find myself in situations that are beyond my abilities and I forget to rely on God for them.
Paul’s example reminded me that I’m not very different, but that I need to surrender circumstances to God and pay attention to how He wants to use me.
Thank you Paul for this reminder. I pray you will learn with me to trust God more and more and lean not in our own understanding!