Read 2 Corinthians 1:8-24
In our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:9
God permits trials to come. In the Greek language, there are ten basic words for suffering, and Paul used five of them in this letter. There are some sufferings that we endure simply because we are human and subject to pain; but there are other sufferings that come because we are God's people and want to serve Him.
We must never think that trouble is an accident. For us believers, everything is a divine appointment. God encourages us in all our tribulations by teaching us from His Word that it is He who permits trials to come. He encourages us further by reminding us that He is in control of trials (see v. 9). Paul was weighed down like a beast of burden with a load too heavy to bear. But God knew just how much Paul could take, and He kept the situation under control.
We do not know what the specific "trouble" was, but it was great enough to make Paul think he was going to die. Whether it was peril from his many enemies, serious illness, or special satanic attack, we do not know; but we do know that God controlled the circumstances and protected His servant. Paul may have despaired of life, but God did not despair of Paul.
Applying God's Truth
1. How do you feel toward God when you encounter suffering?
2. Can you think of past personal trials which, looking back, you can see why God permitted them to happen?
3. What are some of your most pressing current trials? What can you do to ensure that you remain focused on God during these trying times?
Devotions for Encouragement and Maturity. ©2005 by Dr. Warren Wiersbe. Used by permission of David C Cook. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.