We all go through tough times and sometimes those times seem senseless, purposeless, and random. Paul, the great missionary int he New Testament, went through hard times too.In the introductory remarks of 2 Corinthians Paul talks about the tough times he has gone through and how he learned God uses those tough times. He learned there is a purpose behind the pain, common sense in the senselessness, and a plan for a better future in the uncertainty.
First, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:4 that we go through tough times so that we might comfort others. He writes, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in trouble.” In other words, don’t waste your pain. So many times the shame and disappointment we experience with our trouble causes us to hide while at the same time we want to help. God says go ahead and get it out and share. Help someone else. Don’t waste your pain in loneliness. The best way you can help someone is be open about your struggles and share how Jesus helped you through it.
Secondly, Paul writes he learned tough times produce in us a patient endurance (v. 6). God has a huge overarching plan for the entire universe and you have a vital role in that plan. When we go through troubling times it teaches us patience to wait on God’s plan coming together perfectly.
Then in verse 9 Paul writes, “This happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead.” So many times we have our plans that we want to do and all we want is God to help us with our plans. So many times our plans are “help me” and not getting in touch with God’s power and will for our lives.. When we go through a time that is beyond our control it teaches us follow God’s plan, to wait on his work to be done, and to depend on him. Paul points out that God has greater control anyway. Through Christ, he conquered death!