Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 1:8-12

“For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you” (2 Corinthians 1:12)

How often do we rely wholly on God in our day to day lives? Sometimes it takes affliction and hardship before we learn to rely on God. Life is not easy, and sooner or later, we will be faced with immense struggles if we are not facing any now. Yet, let us prepare our hearts from today for those times with a heart ready to rely on God. 

From Paul’s anecdote, we learn how God teaches His children to rely on Him, particularly when the tests of life come. We must rely on God at all times, for apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). However, God teaches this lesson to us, particularly when our lives are struck by some season of hardship or affliction. Therefore, we ought to be ready to undergo these divine lessons and rejoice when God teaches them personally to us. 

Paul describes his affliction in Asia as an utter burden beyond his strength. His hardship brought him to despair of life itself. Our understanding of affliction is often very shallow. Remember the apostles who were martyred for their faith. Remember the missionaries who died out in the fields. Remember the church fathers who were burnt at the stake. 

When death seems inevitable and imminent, and hope seems to fade, God teaches His people to “rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9). What struggles have we been going through? What hardships are we currently undergoing? God wants us to learn to rely on Him. 

Often in hard times, we fail to realise our pride. Inside, we think we are capable of enduring hardship and overcoming it without God. In reality, such self-confidence is an abomination to the Lord. God wants to teach us to have a humble and lowly heart who hopes only in Him alone. 

As the psalmist cries in Psalm 121: 1-2, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth”, let us also learn to depend wholly on God alone. 

However, such lessons are not only for times of hardship. God wants to teach us to have a God-reliant heart at all times. Through our hard times, God is weaning us from living by earthly wisdom and our own capabilities. God is shaping us to live with simplicity and godly sincerity - a heart that clings to the grace of God in all situations. 

How have we trusted God in our day to day life today? Have we cast all our burdens and anxieties on Him who cares for us (1 Peter 5:7)? Surrender all into His hands and live day to day in simple obedience to Him. 

Lord, thank You for the lessons You teach through hard times. Forgive us when we do not rely on You. Teach us to trust in You and Your deliverance at all times. Do not let us live by our own pride and earthly wisdom. Instead, create in us a simple and sincere heart that is wholly dependent on Your grace. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.