Under Great Pressure

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This morning, I read 2 Corinthians 1:1-11.  Verses 8b-9 especially stuck out to me: “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.”  Paul is speaking here of troubles he faced with fellow believers in Asia.  These pressures proved to themselves and those around them that in and of themselves they were weak and incapable.  They were in need of God and His power.

These verses remind me of 2 Corinthians 12:9 which says: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  Christ is glorified through our weaknesses because then He is able to step in and show Himself strong.  After all, 1 Corinthians 1:25 reminds us that the “weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 reminds us: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side,but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”  I’ve heard a quote in reference to this verse that goes: “Blessed are the cracked for they shall let in the light.”  Basically, the more broken we are–the more humbled we are by realizing our own inadequacies– the more of Jesus’ light will shine through us.  Sometimes, the “great pressure” that Paul refers to in 2 Corinthians 1:8 is what God uses to break us so that He can shine more brightly.

2 Corinthians 12:10 goes on to say: “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  I don’t know about you but I don’t tend to delight in my weaknesses or failures.  I don’t like to admit that I can’t do something.  This happened to me today actually.  For some reason, I thought it was humanly possible to work almost 30 hours a week, take 12 credit hours, and CLEP out on Biology 1408 and 1409.  It took a few nights with practically no sleep for me to realize that I had to drop Calculus.  I’ve never dropped a class before, but I realized that my stubbornness in wanting to keep all my classes was mostly a pride issue.  I didn’t want to admit that I couldn’t do it all.  That I’m not superhuman.  These verses in 2 Corinthians reminded me that “when I am weak, then I am strong.”  My strength doesn’t come from my abilities but from Christ.  If I was able to do everything, if I had no weaknesses, if I never failed at anything, I think I would forget that I need God.

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