I wish I could have met Paul in the final, mature days of his walk with the Lord. I would have asked him, “Brother, what kept you from fainting and giving up? You were constantly pressed down on all sides.”
I believe Paul would have answered, “Yes, I was pressed down, but I wasn't distressed by any of it.”
“But you write so often of being perplexed by your trials,” I would say.
“True, but never once did I give up in despair,” he might answer.
“You were also persecuted more than anybody.”
“Yes, I was. But the Lord never forsook me through it all.”
“You were struck down often, with infirmities and troubles.”
“Sure. But none of it destroyed me.”
Today Paul testifies to the whole world, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). He wants God’s people to know, “All your troubles are light, momentary afflictions. And they are producing in you an eternal weight of glory, far beyond your comprehension” (see verse 17).
Paul tells us, “Death worketh in us, but life in you” (2 Corinthians 4:12). The apostle states very plainly, “Here is the reason God hands us over to death. He does it so the life of Christ will flow out of us to others! If we allow death to complete its work, a manifestation of the Christ-life will come forth in us. And our testimony will produce life in all who hear it!”
Remember that when financial problems hit, when physical pain strikes, when your name and character are being defamed, all eyes are on you. Your co-workers, your family members, your brothers and sisters in Christ, even strangers are watching and waiting for your reaction.
What do they see flowing out of you in such times? Do they see faith, trust, surrender? Or do they see a despairing, murmuring Christian who will not entrust himself to the resurrection power of Jesus? Beloved, let death finish its work in you! Let it remove everything that hinders the flow of Christ’s life out of you to others.
Say to the Lord, “Father, I know these troubles aren’t happening to me because You are angry with me but because You are trying to get at something in my soul. Deal with it, Lord. Bring it to death, and out of that death, bring life!”