June 23, 2012

2 Corinthians 1:9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.

As I have occasion to remember and/or quote fairly often, God is more interested in our character than in our being comfortable. (It is awkward that in English, “comfort” and “comfortable” are so related, because this chapter makes it clear those are entirely different things.) This verse certainly brings to mind the Andrae Crouch song, “Through it All.” God allows hard things and hard times in our lives to grow us spiritually and emotionally. God doesn’t want to spend eternity with a bunch of immature brats! It was precisely because Paul went through so much that he was able to finish so strong, as comes out so clearly in 2 Timothy, his last letter that we have recorded. It is only in going through trials that we gain the rock-solid assurance that God can take us through anything, because that’s not just an intellectual proposition. God doesn’t just give us trials, certainly; He delights to bless us in countless ways. However, in the final analysis, we find that many of the things that seemed like hard trials were actually great blessings, because of how they changed us and opened our eyes and hearts to God.

I’ve been in the middle of just such a learning experience, and I am grateful. My wife, Cathy, was showing many symptoms of lupus, and the specialist agreed that was what they all pointed to. We have friends who have struggled with lupus for years, and had one who died of it, so all sorts of scenarios ran through our minds. When we went back for the results of all the blood tests, the figures were so low that they didn’t meet the criteria set by the Health Ministry for a lupus diagnosis! That doesn’t change the immediate symptoms, but it does remove many of the “what if” scenarios from our minds. In the intervening two weeks, Cathy and I both had to deal with those scenarios and choose to trust God, thereby growing in our faith that He is indeed the One who raises the dead, just as this verse says. The experience has made our appreciation for each other, and for each moment, much sweeter. That is a blessing!

Father, I can’t say I sailed through this most recent trial, but You indeed brought me through it. Thank You. Help me indeed trust You fully, not being passive, but not being anxious either. Help me be active in my obedience, knowing that You will never bring me to anything You will not also bring me through, even including death – my own or that of anyone else. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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