What is the purpose of our sufferings in life? In 2 Corinthians 1:8b-9 we read the word of Paul concerning his experience in Achaia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
Paul had gone through some really hard times, but these were not purposeless times. God was using his suffering to teach him the grand lesson that he must rely upon the Lord. This leads us into considering what it is to truly live. For so many true life is found in personal emancipation. To throw off all shackles of external control and be free to rely upon oneself and fulfill oneself is the desired goal advocated and advertised in our society.
However, this in the end produces a futile life. The true life is actually in a captive life. Life is found in a life of dependence. Of course this is not a dependence on just anyone or anything. Rather it is a dependence upon God our maker, redeemer and friend.
So we learn that God is working in all the hardships of life to teach us this lesson that we would depend upon the Lord and not ourselves.
Easy times in many ways are not the best times because they incline us to depend upon ourselves and our circumstances. When all is easy we conclude “I can handle this!” What terrible even frightening words those are.
In many ways the hard times are the best times because, when we use them well, they take us into the essence of life and that is to depend upon the Lord.