Most people experience hardships, afflictions, troubles or tribulations. These hardships come in various forms like health issues, financial crises, emotional breakdowns or spiritual persecution.
In 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul described some of his hardships. He endured shipwrecks, imprisonment and beatings. Paul was completely overwhelmed. His hardships were beyond his ability to endure. Paul thought he would not live through his troubles.
However, Paul did survive. Paul did live through it. Paul learned to handle his hardships. How did Paul do it? How can you do it?
Rely on God. Depend on God. This action is difficult because the default mode of human behavior is self-reliance or self-dependence. Our default mode is to rely on ourselves.
Let me give you an example. A story was published in the New England Journal of Medicine about a plastic surgeon who was repairing an examination room lamp at a hospital. The surgeon was accidentally shocked.
Soon he felt dizzy, and his heart was pounding. He shakily dragged himself into his operating room and hooked himself up to a heart monitor. The monitor showed his heart was racing at 160 beats a minutes.
The doctor diagnosed himself as suffering from atrial fibrillation, which is potentially life-threatening.
His operating room was equipped with a defibrillator, which is an electronic device that applies an electric shock to restore the rhythm of the heart. But the device was not designed for self-use.
Nevertheless, the 40-year-old doctor quickly grabbed a tube of petroleum jelly and smeared the jelly on his bare chest. Then he grabbed the paddles of the defibrillator and pressed them to his chest.
He gave himself two shocks of 100 watt-second (110 joules). The jolts of electricity knocked him off the operating table, but his normal heart rhythm was restored.
Here was a trained medical professional who took matters into his own hands. Instead of calling for a nurse or another doctor, he decided on self-reliance. He decided on depend on himself.
That is our default mode. That is our human nature. But that is not the appropriate strategy during a hardship. The best strategy during a hardship is to depend on God.
Paul stated this principle in 2 Corinthians 1:9 (NLT): But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead.
I am confident Paul did not enjoy going through the pain and suffering of his hardship, but there was a positive outcome. And that positive outcome was that Paul and his companions were forced to rely on God.
You may be at the end of your rope. Your current situation may be beyond your human ability to endure. I encourage you to try something different — rely on God.
Trust in God who has the power to raise the dead.