I am reading in 2 Corinthians at the moment. There are all kinds of things that speak to me and seem to be relevant to my situation. Possibly the most important insight happened this week, when I meditated on 2 Cor 6:4.
I patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.
This sentence is prefaced with the remark that Paul shows in everything that he is a true minister of God. Following this, Paul writes about several kinds of problems which he endured and through it proofed that he is a minister of God. But is this normal?
It nearly sounds as if Paul considers it normal to have problems!
This is in stark contrast to what I want to experience – a more or less stress-free and unproblematic life, or at least low stress and less affected by problems than what I experienced, e.g., during the last two years. Already two chapters earlier Paul mentions a whole list of unpleasant adversities that he experienced (2 Cor 4:8-12), and in the first chapter he mentions problems that were really beyond his ability to endure (2 Cor 1:8).
I am wondering how anybody can endure that? I guess the answer is given in 2 Cor 6:7 – “God’s power is working in me”. This is one of the marks of and a recommendation for a minister of God that Paul mentioned – not to live in our human strength but in the inner strength that comes from God (2 Cor 4:16). Again and again he states – that is why he never gives up (2 Cor 4:1, 16). Wow!
I still find this hard to stomach – does this really mean that we are to consider problems as something normal? I don’t like this. I am light-years away from this attitude.