2 Corinthians 1:1-11
1 I, Paul, am writing this letter. I am an apostle of Christ Jesus just as God planned. Timothy our brother joins me in writing. We are sending this letter to you, the members of God’s church in Corinth. It is also for all God’s holy people everywhere in Achaia. 2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 3 Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Father who gives tender love. All comfort comes from him. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles. Now we can comfort others when they are in trouble. We ourselves receive comfort from God. 5 We share very much in the sufferings of Christ. So we also share very much in his comfort. 6 If we are having trouble, it is so that you will be comforted and renewed. If we are comforted, it is so that you will be comforted. Then you will be able to put up with the same suffering we have gone through. 7 Our hope for you remains firm. We know that you suffer just as we do. In the same way, God comforts you just as he comforts us. 8 Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the hard times we had in Asia Minor. We were having a lot of trouble. It was far more than we could stand. We even thought we were going to die. 9 In fact, we felt as if we were under the sentence of death. But that happened so that we would not depend on ourselves but on God. He raises the dead to life. 10 God has saved us from deadly dangers. And he will continue to do it. We have put our hope in him. He will continue to save us. 11 You must help us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because of what will happen to us. They will thank God for his kindness to us in answer to the prayers of many.
Wow, what a great reminder that there is more to just surviving when we go through hard times. We learn how to lean on the Lord when we are going through hard times – a little bit better each time we encounter difficulty. That is not just so we can do life better, it is so we can help each other to do life better, to share what we have learnt about trusting God and relying on Him. Look out for the person God has brought into your life at this time who needs to know what you have learnt. Paul knew that he needed to share what he learnt.
The other thing I get out of this passage is that when I am going through difficulties I need to look out for the person who is ahead of me and who I can learn from. God wants us to do life in community – not alone. When life is a struggle most of us have a tendency to withdraw, to not bother people with our troubles. That is not what God wants us to do. It is also not how we learn – we need to hear and watch what others do in similar situations. Reach out to the people you respect about your situation and ask for their help to learn how to engage with God and His plan for your life.
Lord thank You that You walk beside us through our troubles, that You want us to learn how to reach out to You. Thank You that You put others in our lives for us to learn from and for us to teach what we have learned. Help us to see these people – those who can help us and those who we can help. Thank You that learning about You and growing in our relationship with You is something that happens across our whole life if we open ourselves to it. Help us to do that. Amen
Written by Therese Manning