A Bowl of Cherries

The Apostle Paul writes this in 2 Corinthians 1:8-10,

“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.”

Christians are not required to act as if life is like a bowl of cherries!  The apostle Paul certainly didn’t mind admitting to hardship. His trials led him to say of his troubles in Asia, “We despaired of life itself.” Trials and troubles will inevitably come—and we don’t have to function as though everything is always swell and pleasant.

Allistair Begg writes this about this passage from 2 Corinthians:  “And what kind of God does Paul say we rely on in our trouble? One ‘who raises the dead.’ In every death—both in the deaths of dreams, hopes, and health in life and then in death itself at the end of life—we can cling to the God who has triumphed over death and will lead us to fullness of life in eternity. It is through the resurrection of Jesus Christ that God delivers us from sin now and frees us to hope in a final deliverance from all suffering and death. As we await our full experience of resurrection hope, God uses our trials and weaknesses to keep us close to Him.”

In the Lord Jesus’ own life, He was raised from the dead only after experiencing the pain of His crucifixion. The same pattern holds for us as we yield to God’s work in us. The apostle Paul in Romans 6:3-11 pivots from the reality of Christ’s death and resurrection for our salvation to the Christian believer dying to sin and living for righteousness’ sake. Truly Christ does a complete work of saving us, but in regard to the present aspect of saving us, that requires our cooperation with God as we yield to Him in our difficulties.  

When God sovereignly allows affliction to shake up your life, remember that He has designed that very trial for you to draw closer to Him and to rely more fully on Him. In His grace, God has designed our salvation so that we must lean upon Christ at all times including the times of testing. As you learn to rely on Him more and more, His strength will shine through your weakness, and you will know true spiritual power, the power of our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, even through or in the pain you are now experiencing. 

Help us O heavenly Father, to know Your Son Jesus Christ, in the power of His resurrection and in the fellowship of His sufferings.  This we ask in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.