I Corinthians 15:35-16:24; Acts 20:1-6; 2 Corinthians 1:1-2:4
Can you recall a time in your life when you would say you were at your lowest point? The pressures of life were such you felt there was no hope; you tried to do the right thing but even that blew up in your face. Why is it when we’ve hit rock bottom we can feel totally alone, like no one understands or even cares to understand what we are going through?
Paul gives us a hint at his lowest low. In 2 Corinthians 1:8 he said at some point he had wished he were dead. He was that discouraged. Then he shares with us what he’d learned from that awful time:
But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:9)
Paul, arguably the most prolific missionary/evangelist in the history of the Church, the apostle whose words still instruct and encourage people two thousand years later, needed to be reminded he needed God.
God delivered Paul from that dark place, and continued to deliver him. The apostle tells us it was through the prayers of the Corinthian believers that God did that:
Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. (verse 11)
Paul said Jesus’ suffering overflowed onto them, but so did Jesus’ comfort. As a result that comfort overflowed onto the Corinthians. It overflows yet today!
So here are a few things I take away from this passage today:
- We all go through hard times. All of us get discouraged and need to be reminded we need God. Sometimes those hard times even sweeten our relationship with Jesus as we learn to depend on Him.
- We need to pray – really pray – for our hurting brothers and sisters even if we don’t know the details of their trouble. God answers prayer. But He can’t answer a prayer not prayed.
- When we come out on the other side – and we always do – we need to use our experience to encourage others, to assure them they are not alone, and to help them recognize the power of God in their lives.
I asked if you remembered a time in your life when you were at rock bottom. I hope that’s not where you are today. But if you are, or if you are headed there, let me encourage you from Paul’s example. You are not alone. And I am praying for you.