Bible Verse: 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. 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. 2 Corinthians 1:8–9

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 1:1-11

I sometimes hear people say that God will never give us more than we can handle. That’s a comforting thought, but it’s not biblical.

Paul talks about the affliction he received in Asia. We’re not sure exactly what that affliction was. Whatever he faced, it caused him to feel burdened beyond his strength.

Next time someone tells you that God won’t give you more than you can handle, remind yourself what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:8: “We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength.” God frequently gives us more than we can handle.

Paul was so overwhelmed that he despaired of life itself. He couldn’t see a way forward. He felt like he was done for, completely helpless, awaiting death. In other words, Paul didn’t just face suffering, but he faced the hopelessness that goes with suffering, which is even worse. It’s horrible to suffer. What’s even worse is to feel your soul crumble under the weight of the suffering so that you begin to despair of life itself.

If that’s how you’re feeling today, you’re in good company. Sometimes we feel guilty when we’re suffering. Some teach that Christians never suffer and that we should never feel discouraged. That’s not what the Bible teaches.

The Bible is honest about suffering. It’s part of life. Some of God’s choicest servants went through unbearable suffering. You are not alone!

Darryl Dash, founding pastor of Liberty Grace Church in Toronto, ON

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