accepting the stress and strain of life

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

2 Corinthians 1:8-11

2 Corinthians is a letter I end up going back to again and again. That’s because my life is often stressful from a number of different angles. One of the important aspects of life is learning to manage stress. I’m not sure I’m all that good at it, but I think I’ve been improving. 

Paul here is sharing his particular stress with the Christians he was writing to. It is an open letter to all of them, now open to the whole world, the entire church in every age. But it goes to show just how much we need each other. Paul was sharing this to them in significant part because of that. He knew he and his apostolic team would be helped by their prayers. He surely also shared it as an example to help them through their own struggles, that they too might learn to trust in God in the stress and strain of life, all that life brings both expected and unexpected. 

That’s a word for me today. To accept the stress and strain, yes. But also in that, a renewed and hopefully growing, maturing trust in God for God’s help in the midst of it. To go through it. But this passage also points out to me the importance of having a community of brothers and sisters to share one’s struggles, so that they can pray. That we can all pray for each other. In and through Jesus.

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