"We would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: but we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us" (II Corinthians 1:8-10).
"God delivered. He is delivering. And He will deliver." Paul's discovery of such grace arose from the sense of despair experienced by His troubles in Asia. Jeopardy became the seedbed for the Lord's powerful working on the Apostle's behalf, as well as Paul's necessary response: "We should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead."
Would Paul have known deliverance had he not trusted God? Not likely. "Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (Hebrews 6:12). Our Lord's promise of provision and protection must be "mixed with faith" in order to produce His desired result (Hebrews 4:2). Had Paul disbelieved God, or had he trusted in his own devices, the Lord would have allowed His servant to reap the consequences of unbelief and self-confidence. Asia would have become a place of disaster and perhaps even the Apostle's demise, as opposed to the testimony that rings through the ages unto this moment in your heart and mine.
This moment also finds us all in our own "Asia." Be it a great challenge or small, opportunities present themselves that demand our choice. Will we trust in "God, which raiseth the dead?" Asia beckons to us with this opportunity, and with this necessity of faith. Our Lord would do much on our behalf, as He did with Paul. As we trust Him rather than resign ourselves to despair or our own futile attempts to deliver ourselves, we shall experience in God's perfect time and way the deliverance wrought by the mixing of grace and faith. Should we disbelieve... well, let us not even countenance for a moment such an evil and deluded notion. Our own "Asia" offers the opportunity to join Paul in the testimony of despair transformed into deliverance. The grace for such glory awaits only the faith whereby grace and faith unite to reveal that God delivered... He is delivering... He will deliver.
"By faith ye stand."
(II Corinthians 1:24)
Weekly Memory Verse
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
(I Thessalonians 5:1-2)