2 Corinthians 1:8-9, “…we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had receive the sentence of death. But this was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”
Disciples of Jesus are not promised an easy time in this life—in fact, this passage (and many others) show us that there will come seasons in the Christian’s journey in which they will be burdened beyond their strength. Physical pain, mental anguish, emotional trauma, spiritual darkness, ALL of these may break like floods into the peaceful valley of the Christian’s life, and they may well overwhelm us; they may—as they did for Paul—bring us to a place where we feel like we have been sentenced to death even while we still live.
And yet, we belong to the God who raises the dead….we are hidden in the one who died and yet, behold, lives forevermore (Revelation 1:17-18).
This is the confidence, the hope, that we have…But what do we do in the midst of the “death” of our trials? What do we do in the midst of the dark night when the blood-bought dawn is still beyond the horizon of our troubles? We remember that Jesus Christ is the Truth. This situation we are in—this horror, this terror, this despair, this slate-grey, ice-cold, stone-hard world of hopelessness in which we seem to be living—this is NOT the truth; Christ is the Truth. The crucified and risen Jesus, the one whose love has swallowed up and overcome all tribulation, the one who stands at the beginning and end of all hardship, the one to whom all of reality will be conformed, THIS ONE is the Truth.
And so, in the midst of the “death” of this life’s sufferings, may we “die” into Christ…may we collapse our exhausted soul into the sustaining arms of the one who was raised from—and so raises—the dead. Yes, In the midst of our hardships, may we die by faith INTO the one who has already died all of our deaths for us and with us and has gathered them up into His own indestructible Life. Having thus died we will find that—beyond all strength or hope of our own—we live, we are upheld, we are sustained, and we have hope.