“For we don’t want you to be unaware, brothers, of our affliction that took place in the province of Asia: we were completely overwhelmed – beyond our strength – so that we even despaired of life.” (2 Corinthians 1:8)
Sometimes God leads us into life experiences that take us beyond our strength. We might describe some of these with the word “affliction” because that is how it feels. We should probably distinguish, though, between those that are of God and those that are of our own doing. Affliction that is the result of our own wrongdoing is clearly not of God, unless by judgment. Peter warned us about these. He suggested that suffering for doing wrong has no benefit to us, while suffering because of some good we do does have spiritual benefit to us.
These afflictions that Paul writes about are afflictions we go through as a result of our walk with God, when we find ourselves “in over our heads” so to speak. The task is far beyond our ability to carry out. The endurance is beyond our personal capabilities. The suffering is beyond our personal strength. As a result, the only option we have is to rely on Him, to trust Him, to cast ourselves upon Him and His care and power.
If we follow Christ seriously, eventually we end up in this place. We must remember that the way He went led to a cross, and if we follow Him we need to be prepared for such. Sooner or later, we will be in a situation that is beyond our strength. But that actually becomes the time when we can be the strongest, because in our weakness we must rely on His strength. And to Him will go the glory.
Lord, We thank You that we do not have to depend on our strength for those experiences that are beyond us. Amen.