I touched upon a point in yesterday’s post that was brought into a greater light during my Bible study time this morning. I felt that it presented a thought provoking perspective concerning the importance of the completion of the plans, purposes and pursuits that we endeavor to accomplish in our lives. Yesterday I said that God has not intended for us to go through our search for His will alone, and that He has provided men and women in the ministry as well as fellow Christians to assist us in our quest. Evidence in support of this direction came up as I read the beginning verses of the New Testament book of 2 Corinthians.
The Apostle Paul wrote his second recorded letter to the Corinthian church immediately following a time of severe testing and persecution in his life and ministry.¹ But instead of feeling sorry for himself, he presented a totally different approach that got me to take a serious look at some of the emotions that I have recently been experiencing and thought that it might be a good word to pass on to you.
After his initial greetings to the church, Paul began a dissertation on “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… who is compassionate and the God who gives comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3 Gods Word ©) The contents of his next few statements is what quickly stopped the rising temptations in me to give myself a rousing pity party because of the state of affairs concerning my wife’s health. In describing God’s comfort in times of suffering Paul explains “That is why whenever people suffer, we are able to comfort them by using the same comfort we have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4 Gods Word ©)
Paul saw the experience, that he was still reeling from, as part of the ministry tools that he had acquired to assist others when they had times of need. Now, while Paul knew that the trials and tribulations that he experienced were not from God, but from the deceiver of our souls, he openly used the lessons learned and emotions felt to comfort those that he came into contact with. What a lesson for us to learn! If Paul had quit and run during the intense times of persecution he would have no right or reference point from which to help support others when they faced similar situations.
This teaching from Paul forced me to turn my attention from focusing completely inwardly, and caused me to look beyond myself. I began to see how I could assist another individual by my unyielding stand upon the truth of God’s Word that talks of our impending victory no matter what the current circumstances may be screaming into our ears. So what’s my point? The experiences of how we successfully complete our goals and persevere through the difficult times today, may just be what someone in our future needs to hear in order to make it through their tough times in life. And… it just grows from there. They pass on what they’ve heard and learned to someone else, and that one to another... and so on.
So the next time you’re tempted to organize a pity party, take a moment and consider the consequences that your decision might have in the future life of another. Kind of eye opening isn’t it! Your successes could be the foundation for even greater triumphs for the next generation. Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”
¹Paul may have written as many as four separate letters to the Corinthian church. There is some scriptural evidence that seems to indicate a letter written before I Corinthians (see I Cor 5:9) and then the “severe letter” that came before 2 Corinthians was penned. (see 2 Cor 2:3-4).