For the past several months I've been contemplating some of the Apostle Paul's thoughts:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
The Father of mercies, and God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our affliction
so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction
with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted by God.
For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance,
so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.
For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren,
of our affliction which came to us in Asia,
that we were burdened excessively,
beyond our strength,
so that we despaired even of life;
indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves
so that we would not trust in ourselves,
but in GOD who raises the dead;
who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us,
He on whom we have set our hope.
And He will yet deliver us,
you also joining in helping us through your prayers,
so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf
for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many."
1 Corinthians 1: 3-5, 8-11
Sometimes the trouble in this life is excessive; more than we can bear - "beyond our strength." That's when we begin to discover God's surpassing power (2 Cor. 4:7) and when we cling to His promises. "We have come to know and rely on the love which God has for us." (1John 4:16)
He was able to crush the power of death and to give us the hope of eternal life with Him! Though He may not choose to deliver us from physical pain or death, He instead delivers us TO HIMSELF, drawing us into a fuller intimacy with Him.
And somehow, in the body of Christ, we as fellow believers have an amazing ability to join in helping others through our prayers, so that we all have even greater reason for giving thanks as we see God's faithfulness in each others lives! Even through the excessive burdens.
Will you join in helping us through your prayers for my (Barbara's) sister, Shirley, who is facing an 'excessive burden' of cancer? After a two year battle, her liver is failing, and the doctor's prognosis is for just weeks more of life on this earth. Please pray that the God of all comfort would pour out abundant comfort through Christ on her and her family. Thank you. Thanks to God for His love for her, and for the hope she has of eternal life with HIM!