Plea for Grace September 17, 2022

2Co 1:8-11 ESV 
8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 
9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 
10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 
11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

The apostle Paul’s example is humbling/convicting/encouraging. He is writing to the Corinthian believers, and his first words in this letter are to encourage them that God will comfort them in their affliction. He will comfort by his word, but also by the ministry of other believers. God has not left them alone, and he will not leave them alone.

But Paul is also honest with them. Life is really tough right now. They were not even sure they were going to live to tell about it . . .but oh, what perspective!

God was not distracted. God did not forget about them. No, God was there the entire difficult, exhausting, scary time. God showed them that it was important to remember where their strength was found. It was not in their own abilities.

Psa 46:1-3 ESV 
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, 
3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. 

If there is something that can cause you to feel as though you have little to no control, it’s a weather event. I grew up on a California fault line, and then lived 17 years in Interior Alaska. You can run seismic predictions and have building codes and emergency action plans, but you still do not know exactly how that earthquake will hit. How long will the first tremor last? How many aftershocks? You do your best to prepare and understand that God is sovereign over the weather. Here in the Southeast hurricanes need a similar mindset. You plan and buy groceries and board up windows and get a generator, but will that hurricane make a sudden turn in another direction? Will it gain or slow speed? How much will those waters roar and foam?

It’s interesting that the psalmist uses these weather events to illustrate God’s sovereignty. God knows exactly where every earthquake will hit, and where every hurricane will land. There is not a speck of dirt or a drop of ocean water that is outside of God’s control. This God, this Sovereign, is our refuge and our strength. Therefore, we will not fear . . .

Even if I am so exhausted and symptomatic that I don’t know how I’m going to make it til’ bedtime (and yes, I have nitroglycerin and yes, it does work). Instead of concentrating on “why” isn’t it so much more productive to thank God for always being my refuge, and marveling that He is sufficient for my time of need?

And no, I did not miss the point that Paul could be honest about their struggle and that he was willing to ask for prayer, that people would give thanks to God as they witnessed God’s provision in the apostles’ lives.

Pray for the Persecuted Church–OpenDoorsUSA

Day 6: So many Christians in Oman come from other
countries and live and work as migrant workers. Pray
that these believers would find a community of faith.

Daily Wisdom
Psalm 80-85
Proverbs 17

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