As Paul wrote this second letter to the church in Corinth he shared from the heart the burdens he was carrying and the love he had for them. His ministry was not without a cost however and in this letter he openly bears his soul to them that they may learn from him how to handle adversity. As we read we want to keep our eyes open to what he faced: conflicts, fears, sufferings. Then we want to transition to ask: are they similar to mine? Am I persevering as Paul did? What lessons can I learn that I can use later for others?
Question 1: Who is God to you when you face adversity? Is he as Paul notes: the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort? Is he a god who can comfort us in all of our troubles? Do we see our troubles as God’s open door for us to in turn minister to others? These are the questions we need to address as we read 2Cor.
Principle 1: One purpose in suffering is that we may in turn comfort others when they face similar circumstances. vs 4 God is the God of all comfort; vs 6 if we face affliction/suffering/adversity it is that we may be in turn be able to comfort and empathize with others.
Principle 2: We can be confident and trust that God is involved in our circumstances vs 7 And our hope for you is steadfast because we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you will share in our comfort. Vs 9 we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.
Principle 3: Be steadfast, immovable in whatever circumstance you find yourself vs 10 We have set our hope on him – on God alone
Principle 4: Our prayers that are being offered are useful for ourselves and others. 1:11 as you also join in helping us by prayer, so that many people may give thanks to God on our behalf for the gracious gift given to us through the help of many. John Bunyan wrote: “In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”
What adversity are you facing today that you can implement these same 4 principles? Perhaps you may have faced a similar adversity. Thus the question is: How may I pray for you in this time?