Summary: Everyone deals with the reality of problems. Paul teaches us some vital lessons we should learn from problems
Living through the Problems of Life
When life hits you with problems, you have a choice to make; you can either become bitter or you can become better. The Bible is filled with people who endured the tough stuff of life.
Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers
Jeremiah was thrown into a well
Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt with the infant Jesus
Jesus was betrayed by His disciples: Judas may have turned Him over to the Jewish leaders but the rest turned and ran to save themselves
Peter and John were beaten for preaching the gospel
Paul was beaten and thrown into prison
What kind of problems have you had to deal with?
You experienced the tough stuff of betrayal when your spouse walked out the door and called it quits.
You experienced the tough stuff of sorrow when you stood by the grave of a loved one that had passed away
You experienced the tough stuff of illness when you discovered your need for surgery
You experienced the tough stuff of doubt when you felt like God had left you
Every problem is an opportunity to prove God's power. Every day we encounter countless golden opportunities, brilliantly disguised as insurmountable problems. C. Swindoll
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
Key words to understand
Hard Pressed (thlibomenoi)
The word means to be squeezed, oppressed, hedged in or troubled.
Paul is describing the daily reality of problems that create an ongoing pressure in life. Paul is talking about a situation that is filled with problems that will not relent.
On every side
Paul is expressing that there were problems in every possible way, at every place and every occasion.
This word is the root of our English strenuous. The word means to be kept in a narrow, cramped space, to be continually distressed.
Paul makes it clear that while trouble and problems may surround us, we do not have to be overwhelmed by them.
Perplexed - to be at a loss, to be doubting, not knowing or questioning. It is wondering which way to go, what to do, what to say.
Despair - to be hopeless, to have no confidence, no sense of security
We may be persecuted but Christ never forsakes us
Persecution comes in many forms
a.) Isolation b.) Slander c.) Criticism
d.) Imprisonment e.) Threats f.) Martyrdom
Never forsaken - God never leaves us alone. He is with us always and is there when we need Him. Christ is there to give us His presence and power.
Struck down - to be smitten or knocked down
Destroyed - to perish, to die
Seven Facts about Problems
Problems are not uncommon
Many times people think that they are the only individuals who are dealing with trials or hardships. While no difficulty is the same for every person, problems are virtually universal. Everyone has problems. Some people have more problems than others but everyone has problems. There is no way to deny it or candy-coat it, we are problem people. We experience problems on a regular basis, sometimes even daily. The more problems that we handle help us to be more prepared for the next one. Never think that somehow, you will come to a time in life when you will be free of problems.