“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. . .” Charles Dickens penned these words in the first chapter of A Tale of Two Cities. Do you feel like you are in the “worst of times?” Adopting a pessimistic view of the world is easy. Anyone that watches the news for more than a moment may feel overwhelmed and hopeless. It seems as though bad things are happening all around us. What do we do in the worst times of our lives? Is there something that keeps us going? Maybe you are in one of those situations right now. There is hope.
During these hardest times, God is with us, and he has something for us. If you feel like you are ready to give up, I want you to know that you are in good company. Even Paul had a moment when everything seemed to come crashing in, and he felt like giving up. He writes in 2 Corinthians 1:8, “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.” Did you catch that? Even Paul, the Apostle that penned 13 letters in the New Testament was in despair. Paul came to the end of himself.
Some of you have used the words, “I can’t go on . . .” or “I just can’t take this anymore . . .” You feel as though you have nothing left in you to keep going. In the midst of Paul’s struggle, he found a great truth. Verse 9 says, “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.” When Paul came to the end of his own strength, he realized that he needed to rely on God. Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song that contained these words, “His strength is perfect when our strength is gone. He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.” This is the same message that Paul shares with the Corinthians.
If you find yourself in this situation, maybe it is time to lean into God. Paul set his eyes on Christ and saw the hope that he had. This made his despair disappear. His problems didn’t go away, but they faded in the glory of God. Paul learned to rely on God during the hardest times of his life. Are you relying on God? His strength is perfect. Lean into him, and he will see you through.