No way out – A Word from Dr. Mike

Job 14:1 says, “How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble!” 

Paul could testify to the truth that life is “full of trouble.” And so can we!!! 

Paul addressed this issue in II Corinthians 1: 8-11. 

In verse 8, he addresses his current crisis: “For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our suffering which came to us in Asia…” 

The apostle Paul’s life reached a crisis stage. He declared “our suffering which came to us…” Suffering came to Paul. Suffering comes to us. No believe is immune or excused from it. We would certainly not like to answer the door when suffering comes knocking. But suffering becomes that unexpected and unwanted guest in our lives far too often. 

Notice Paul examines the complexity of his emotions caused by his adversity. 

In verse 8, Paul wrote, “For we were burdened beyond measure.” Literally, the meaning is “unbearably crushed to the point of depression.” Our suffering produced from our trials can totally crush us. Have you ever been so totally crushed in your spirit that you said, “I just can’t take this anymore!” 

In verse 8, Paul wrote, “(burdened) beyond our strength…” Paul was so totally crushed by his suffering that it was even beyond his strength to endure. Totally crushed by the weight of his trial. Unbelievably overwhelmed. 

In verse 8, Paul wrote, “…so we despaired even of life.” In the original language, the word “despaired” is spelled eksaporathanai, 3 words merged into one: eks (“out”) + a (“no”) + porathanai (“way”). “Despaired” literally means “no way out.” Paul, one of the greatest Christians who ever lived, despaired even of life, that is, he saw no way out of the trial and the suffering that resulted from it. 

Like you, I wish the Christian life would be a problem-free, adversity-free life. 

But Job reminds us that life is full of trouble. And Paul provides us with a personal illustration. 

When I read verse 9, I think of the word “change.” Our suffering changes us. How? The dark, difficult seasons of life are always overshadowed by the brilliance of GOD’s sanctifying grace at work in our lives through our adversity. 

Paul writes, “Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves but in GOD who raises the dead.” 

For Paul, life could not get any worse for him and those with him. Notice the phrase “the sentence of death.” In other words, persecution was so severe Paul knew he was going to be killed. He could die at any moment. 

Recognizing “the sentence of death,” and understanding that circumstances were beyond his control, Paul now looks beyond himself for the solution. Commentator William Barclay is right: “Paul saw the terrifying experience he had gone through had one tremendous use – it had driven him back to GOD and demonstrated to him his utter dependence on Him.” 

Verse 10 is both beautiful and powerful! Paul writes, “Who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us.” Look at this: 

“Who delivered us” – past tense. GOD delivered Paul from his trials in the past. 

“(Who) does deliver us” – present tense. GOD is currently delivering Paul. 

“He will still deliver us” – future tense. GOD will deliver Paul. 

Job was absolutely correct. Life is filled with trouble. But another truth exists – GOD is always present in our lives – in the past, in the present, in the future. Hence, our confidence in GOD sustains us in the midst of our suffering. He is at work. 

Job did not say in the end, “Now I see it all.” He never sees it all. But there is one thing he does see. He sees GOD (Job 42:5) 

Pastor Mike

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