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.
It seems probable that the specific incident Paul is referring to here was when he was stoned in Lystra (Acts 14), when he had a near-death experience. However, the focus of this verse isn’t the experience itself but on what it did in Paul, teaching him to rely on God and not on himself. That’s a lesson we all need to learn! It is ironic that we generally have to come to the end of our own resources before we will turn to God for His. Logically that makes no sense at all, because God’s resources are infinite by definition, and ours are the opposite. The wisest course is to realize that and act on it without having to go through a near-death experience! However, some things have to be either experienced or directly revealed by God before we will really accept them; simply hearing them as information doesn’t cut it. One interesting thing about God’s revelation is that we have to accept it. All too often God shows us things and we turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to them. The longer I live the more I am aware of human free will and the power to choose. We can choose to learn to rely on God from much easier things than being stoned to death! Our stubborn pride blocks us from so much that God has prepared for us. We need to be like little children indeed, reaching out our hands to Daddy for all that He wants to give us, knowing that our own efforts won’t cut it. This isn’t to be passive; we are to take responsibility for using what God has already provided, as good stewards, but even then we must remember where it all came from in the first place.
A famous tale in my family is from when one of my sisters was little and first learning to do things for herself. Her famous phrase was, “Selfie do it.” (At the time, “selfie” wasn’t even a recognized word but now it is common, with the meaning of “a self-portrait.”) Such things are cute in a two-year-old, but that attitude has nearly done me in on multiple occasions! Just recently I had a minor problem with my van, and my immediate response was thinking how to fix it myself. However, the Lord gave me a nudge yesterday and I took it by our mechanic. He identified the problem immediately and fixed it free of charge, and as it turned out, I would not have had the parts necessary. Maybe I’m learning a little with age! As I am reminded frequently, the vision God has given me of Omura again becoming the foremost Christian city in Japan is something I can’t possibly accomplish on my own, so I’m absolutely forced to rely on Him. I’m grateful for that! As He has told me to do, I need to rest, relax, and rejoice in Him, staying available for however He chooses to use me but not insisting that He do so. I am to make room for others to grow in their gifting, teaching them what I have learned of relying on God, so that in all things He may be glorified and the Body of Christ be built up.
Father, thank You for this reminder, and for the recent experience to illustrate it. May I be a faithful steward of all You have provided, so that it will fulfill Your purposes in every way, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!