“If we cannot believe God when circumstances seem be against us, we do not believe Him at all.”
Circumstances have a way of caging our spirit with fear, despair, and self-pity. How are we to gain an eternal perspective concerning the raging political scene, the moral decay of America, the increase of Sharia law (the law of Islam), and terrorist acts of barbarism that are so prevalent in the world today? Wisdom demands that we look beyond the temporal to the eternal. Let us now ask God for wisdom, which He offers freely to his people (Jas. 1:5) in order that we may look beyond current circumstances to see the sovereign hand of God at work.
Consider the fact that in 2 Corinthians 1:8 Paul gives a strikingly honest testimony concerning the tremendous amount of despair that both he and Timothy were burdened with. “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life” (2 Cor. 1:8 NKJV). Why is it, do you think, that it was important for the believers within the church of Corinth not to be ignorant of their suffering? The answer is clearly found within the following verse. “Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead (1:9, emphasis mine). Paul is applying an eternal framework to temporary circumstances, resulting in proper perspective.
“That which should distinguish the suffering of believers from unbelievers is the confidence that our suffering is under the control of an all-powerful and all-loving God. Our suffering has meaning and purpose in God’s eternal plan, and He brings or allows to come into our lives only that which is for His glory and our good.”
Anything that causes you to lose faith in yourself and increases your faith in God who raises the dead is nothing short of a glorious blessing!
In closing, it is important to note that although Paul was granted tremendous gifts and abilities from God in order that he may bring the gospel to the Gentiles (Rom. 15:15-16), he was no less human than you or I. That being said, Paul was able to endure tremendous hardships (cf. 2 Cor. 11:24-29) with joy in the spreading of the gospel because he learned to look beyond his current circumstance to see the sovereign hand of God at work.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18