This is the opening of Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth. He is sending words of comfort and encouragement to the people of Corinth. He goes into a long explanation about how God comforts us in our pain and suffering and tells us that we should, therefore, show that same comfort to others. He then recounts his own experiences traveling in Asia:
8 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. 9 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. (ESV)
There is a lot to unpack in this statement. I’ll share a few things that stuck out to me:
- 1) There is comfort from God in our sufferings.
- 2) We (as imitators of Christ) are to comfort the people around us who are suffering.
- 3) We all go through suffering.
- 4) You can use your story and your suffering to bring hope to the hurting, broken, and dying.
- 5) Growth happens in suffering.
- 6) God is bigger than our suffering. He can raise the dead. How much more can He overcome the death and pain that eat at your heart?