2 Corinthians 1:8-22.
Holy Week is in full swing. It’s not even Wednesday and I’m bushed tonight— so this is going to be pretty short.
Here at the beginning of 2 Corinthians, Paul spends some time explaining to the church at Corinth why he has not come to visit them. And here we find a peculiar quartet of verses:
8 We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death so that we would rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He who rescued us from so deadly a peril will continue to rescue us; on him we have set our hope that he will rescue us again, 11 as you also join in helping us by your prayers, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. NRSV
I wonder what Paul went though in Asia. I wonder what happened to him. Probably I could look it up, reference stuff in Acts and maybe find out. Whatever it was, it was terrible: a death sentence, even. So utterly crushed that he despaired of life itself… and it couldn’t have been fun.
But rather than sit there and bellyache about it, Paul shares what he learned through the experience. He learned it’s a bad idea to rely on himself. Relying on the One who raises the dead is what got him through this terrible trial.
I think we/I could learn from that. We really do worship the One who raises the dead. That puts our sufferings in a different light, no matter how severe they may be.
Think about it…