Good News for Troubled Souls

Sam Petitfils

“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers,of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 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.”  (II Corinthians 1:8-9)

Do you face disappointments?   Have the storms of life drown out your joy and peace? Have you been hammered by repeated troubles, so much so that you feel you’re out of options?  Listen to some very good news, from the life of the Apostle Paul.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul wrote what would turn out to be his most personal letter.  His Corinthian readers had made some progress in correcting some of their problems Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians, but a vocal minority still opposed Paul and his attempts to get the Corinthian church on biblical footing.  Paul cared for these people, and we are always hurt most by people we care about, when they do things that injure us.

In the passage above, Paul writes what would amount to a seeming contradiction: though he was “burdened beyond our strength,” he saw God’s wisdom in ordering this trial.  God taught him not to rely on himself, but “God who raises the dead.”  We see here a principle, that when life coasts, it presents a danger.  Have we ceased to trust in God because we see no need to?  So God, in His infinite wisdom, appoints trials for His children in order to accomplish much good and to lead them to the trusting waters of His abundant streams.

Study carefully the following passages:

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).

“And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.  For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure.  God is treating you as sons.  For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:5-11).

"Our loving heavenly Father never allows affliction to enter our life except for specific purposes, mainly for our spiritual good. In the end, like Job, we will see God’s faithfulness."  (James 5:11).

Finally, let’s heed the words of the writer of Hebrews, and consider it our wisdom to follow his counsel:

“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees” (Hebrews 12:12).

In light of the good and excellent work God is performing in your heart through the trials He appoints you, rejoice greatly (1 Peter 1:6-7).  You have every reason to.  God sees you as a worthy investment, so He brings you to places where you need to trust Him.

Let’s praise the holy name of Jesus for His unerring compassion towards us, His comfort in the midst of storms, and His power in strengthening our hearts to trust and follow Him in the midst of a life of storms.

Praise His holy name!  He has brought us good news.


Great is Thy Faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Refrain

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!


 

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