Because God rarely teaches us in the single moment, but in the perspective. Say you were a pro football player. You were not only a good player, but one of the ones who was always seen giving a quick glory to God at every touchdown scored. But now you are in your 50s, 60s, maybe 70s. The glory is gone, but the headaches, the memory loss, maybe the arthritis or the rheumatic joints, those are still with you. And you are bitter with God, and say, "I was faithful to you, and you left me like this!" Never mind the "golden ages" when you were on top of the world and giving thanks to God was easy. Did you forget, in God's eyes, our lives on earth are but a moment, passing like vapor? What was the BALANCE of that life?
Job had a hard time with that for a short while, wondering why God allowed him tragedy, when he had served God so well. Had God changed? Of course not. Had Job changed? Not really. But his circumstance had changed. And at first, Job kept the same attitude, but then, he got lost in thinking "I don't deserve this." Before his friends got to him, he said, "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord." And had he stayed with that, he would have been fine.
What does all this have to do with 2 Corinthians 1? Well, it all revolves around the verse I finally saw this morning:
2Co 1:8 For, brothers, we would not have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength; so much so that we despaired even of life.
2Co 1:9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, so that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;
2Co 1:10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver; in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us,
2Co 1:11 with you also helping together by prayer for us, so that the gracious gift by many persons be the cause of thanksgiving through many for us.
Much of Paul's writing seems to go around in circles to our ears, and so the first part of this chapter for me, so I set it aside till this morning. And so it was I had some struggles this week, asking God to show Himself to me just a little. Hence it was in retrospect I finally tumbled onto the 13th chapter:
2Co 13:2 I told you before, and I say beforehand, as being present the second time and being absent now. I write to those who sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again, I will not spare.
2Co 13:3 Since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me (who is not weak toward you, but is powerful in you;
So what proof of Christ would I be given? None, because I hadn't learned the verse He brought me to. So let's go back now to the verse I needed to learn.
Paul many times says that he didn't mind the various trials he had gone through, for what they brought to others. Here, he describes being in intense fear for his life- but, it was all right. Because of those trials, people prayed for him. And when he was delivered, God was glorified by the MANY people who, through praying for Paul in his trials, had their prayers answered through his salvation.
Paul looked at his suffering, then, as the opportunity to set the table for a feast of Thanksgivings to the Lord; God was glorified in Paul's trial by the many who thanked God afterwards for his deliverance.
How often do you thank God when you pray an asked-for prayer for someone else? Do you wait to see the benefit? Jesus said to pray WITH thanksgiving, that the prayer might be answered. Or are you in need of prayer, do you ever thank God for the opportunity to have many give thanks to Him through your trial? This is where Job got lost. When his friends came to co-miserate, he allowed them to drive him into dark thoughts; where, had he kept his original attitude, his friends would have seen the glory of God through Job's suffering and praised God the more.
So today's question is, in that time of trial: if you are the sufferer, what is your attitude, do you look for God's glory or try to defend your own hide? And if the friend praying, do you thank God when you pray- or only when you get the FaceBook message saying, disaster averted?