We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. (2 Corinthians 1:8-10 NLT)
Paul repeats the word comfort 9 times in verses 3-7 that precede this passage. We can expect trouble in this life, and God’s desire is to comfort us in that trouble. The trouble that Paul experienced was not due to bad choices on his part. Instead, he was suffering as a direct result of following God’s call.
I wish I could say that my response when I’m hurting is the same as Paul’s, but it isn’t. This passage teaches us that God’s desire is for us to rely on him. It seems that the only way to accomplish this is to allow us to experience things that take us beyond what we can handle on our own. I don’t want to go there. I want to be comfortable, but here is Paul telling us that the place of comfort is found when we are totally out of our comfort zone. When Paul thinks he is going to die, then he leans into God’s ability to raise the dead and finds peace.
To my grandchildren:
Here’s what grandpa learned today. Life is hard and often I hurt. God wants me to learn to follow him through tough times. It is during the tough times that I learn to rely on God and not on me.