July 20, 2017


2 Corinthians 1:8-11

We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure. . . . But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God. . . .

—  2 Corinthians 1:8-9

I’m guessing that most of us have never been shipwrecked, or been whipped within an inch of our lives, or had a group of assassins after our blood, or been lowered over a city wall in a basket at night to escape our pursuers. But all of those things happened to Paul, and he was frequently under unbearable pressure.

This is not to say we don’t live with stress, however. Stress has a way of bending us out of shape, making us act in uncharacteristic ways, and making us more vulnerable than usual to temptation. We find ourselves snapping at people, losing patience when we need it most, or becoming depressed. Ultimately stress can cause us to take our eyes off God and focus only on our problems.

When we’re under pressure, it’s important to realize that if we are not careful, it could have an adverse effect on our relationships with others. Most importantly, we should use those situations to learn to rely on God. How do we do that?

Pray, “Lord, help me. I need your wisdom and strength!” Continue to trust God when things are beyond your control. Believe that God can bring victory out of seeming defeat. Continue to obey God’s revealed will, his clearly expressed commands. And be courageous. 

Lord, we ask not for a stress-free life but that you will teach us to rely on you. Through your Spirit living in our hearts, give us wisdom and strength. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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