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A Painful Reality

After meeting Jesus, Paul dedicated his life to sharing the gospel. But things didn’t always go well for him. In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul shares an astounding list of sufferings including imprisonments, beatings, a stoning, three shipwrecks and frequent bouts of hunger and need. How could a man of God suffer so much? Why did God allow it?

Though our hurts look different from Paul’s – divorce, child abuse, rape, loss, bankruptcy, addiction – they are devastating nonetheless. Why does God allow these things, especially in the lives of those who love Him? Thankfully, Paul gives us an answer in 2 Corinthians 4:7-9. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay that show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

In 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, Paul reminds us that there is purpose in pain. These things happen “that we might not rely on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” If we lived easy lives and our hearts were never broken, we would lose sight of our need for Jesus. There would be no opportunity for others to see God at work in us. Pain is necessary for our good and His glory.

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