Tuesday, October 17, 2006
"For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many."
(2Co 1.8-11 ESV)
Does this passage amaze you as much as it amazes me? Paul, The Apostle to the Gentiles, felt that all was lost--that he was going to die. Historically speaking, we don't know what Paul is referring to but it was horrid. What a translational phrase from Charles B. Williams: "I was so crushed beyond any power to endure that I was in dire despair of life itself."
This is Paul? This is Paul the Great? This is...this is...a human being like us. How easy it is to think of the early church leaders as people beyond problems. Far from it!
God had something to teach him. "Yes, I felt within my very self the sentence of death, to keep me from depending on myself instead of God who raises the dead." (2Co 1.9 WmsNT)
Every Christian needs to learn the power of The God of Resurrection--before he dies! It comes by faith and resignation to the Holy Spirit. It isn't easy. It doesn't feel good. Spiritual death to self-effort isn't fun.
But it's necessary.
Check out the last of the passage quoted at the beginning of the blog. We need the prayers of others, too.
And it's appreciated.