2Co 1:8-10 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. (9) Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. (10) He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.
Despair. Think about that word. An utter loss of hope. Desperation. Despondency. Pretty grim stuff, right?
Do you realize that even the great Apostle Paul despaired? He says so. He told the Corinthians that he and his companions were once in such a dark situation that they despaired of life itself. They felt sentenced to death and expected it. We don’t know the specifics, but no doubt it had to do with the hateful efforts of the enemy to kill them. This was it. They were going to die.
It turned out however that the Lord was using these hopeless circumstances to take away anything that might lead them to rely upon themselves instead of upon the Lord. He stripped away anything that that they might take hope in – except in Him. And then He delivered them.
The result? Lesson learned. “On Him we have set our hope.”
If the Apostle Paul came to a point of such despair on occasion, we should not be surprised if the same happens to us. And when these trials come, we can know that the Lord has it all in hand, whether we live or die, and that He is working in us to teach us to trust only in Him. Faith, real faith, always has as its only object – the Lord. Not man. Not ourselves. Not worldly weaponry or methods. But faith in Him.
2 thoughts on “Even the Apostle Paul Despaired”
Thank you, a much needed reminder.
That’s why the quote from CS Lewis is so wrong. “It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.”
I’m pretty sure the apostle Paul didn’t despair because he carried his burden wrongly.