November 17, 2020
2 Corinthians 11:25, 27-28, “Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea … I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
Beaten and shipwrecked, Paul found himself in all sorts of disappointing positions. So, when he wrote to the church at Corinth about how to handle tough circumstances, he was speaking as someone who’d weathered them firsthand. And his advice can help us navigate tough situations as well.
In today’s reading, Paul is saying that we may be amid a tough situation, but it’s not the end of the story. In other words, our lives may experience a plot twist, but there’s more to come. Paul chose to focus on the fact that God was at work, whether he could see it or not. The same is true for us. No matter the situation, we can trust that our all-powerful, loving God is working even though we can’t see it just yet.
When you fix your mind on what is unseen, you can begin to experience the same thing that led Paul to write this letter — hope. And not just hope that things will get better but hope that even if things don’t ever go the way you wanted them to, you’ll be okay. Your story isn’t over, and even when there’s trouble, God can be trusted to get you through to the next great adventure that awaits you on the other side.
What do you know to be true about God? Where have you seen Him at work in your life? How does this help you to continue with confidence in the face of troubles and hardships?
Dear Lord, Your presence is my comfort in the best of times and the worst. I may be pressed on every side and perplexed, but I will never be crushed by despair. Thank You for being my Defender, Healer, and Peace amid every storm. Through You, I will overcome! In Jesus’ name, Amen.