Great Faith AND Heartbreaking Torment

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).

Troubles…
Under great pressure…
Not sure if I can endure this anymore…
Despair…
Not even sure I want to live anymore…
I’m dying…

Ever been there?

If you’ve lived long enough, almost every single human being will be able to relate.

But what is surprising…No. Not just surprising, but shocking about these words are that they were penned by the Apostle Paul.

You know, the guy who wrote a third of the New Testament.

  • The guy who wrote the letter to the Philippians – the letter of Joy – while he was imprisoned!
  • This is the same guy who wrote in Romans, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18),
  • And “No in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).

Then, what’s the deal? How can someone who writes about praising God in all circumstances write what he did in our verse of the day?

Perhaps, when we are dealing with the human being who wrote a third of the New Testament and not the idealized “Super, Duper, Apostle Paul,” we come to realize that Paul had issues just like you and me. And, not only did he have troubles like you and me, but he processed them in a way similar to us.

You see, it is quite possible to have a faith that praises God for all God’s promises, AND be tormented and broken by hardship, weariness, exhaustion, and suffering.

It is quite possible for you to be absolutely certain about God’s promises – that’s faith.

AND…

It is perfectly normal for human beings to go through moments of torment and doubt, and be shaken to the core – that’s what it means to be human.

And, the most beautiful thing, is that our doubts and uncertainties do not and cannot cancel out God’s amazing promises.

That’s good news! That’s gospel.

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