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 1:9)
If we don’t sometimes feel like we’re “in over our heads,” it may be that we’re not following Jesus where he calls us.
Paul names it the “sentence of death” — that’s how he felt about the sufferings and complexities of his ministry. It was true affliction, a burden so heavy that he admits he lacked the strength to carry it. He was sinking, despairing even of life itself because of the hardships he faced. To the extreme, the apostle Paul was “in over his head.” And God did this in order to, as Paul says, “make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9).
When We’re Stretched
The situations that stretch us come in varying degrees. Some are intense like Paul’s, others are scattered along the spectrum of the great unknown, where fear runs rampant and our faith feels small. But whatever they are, however hard they feel, we know why they come. Paul tells us.
God brings trials into our lives to give us more of himself. Their purpose is that we might not rely on ourselves — not look to ourselves for salvation or hope or joy — but that we might rely on him. The purpose is that we would lean on God, that we’d fix our eyes on his glory, clinging to the truth that in Jesus he is always enough for us. Always.
This truth resounds in the depths to which God calls us. He invites us to step out and follow him. To dream. To plan. To build. He invites us put our hands to work for his name’s sake, not based upon our expertise or know-how or giftedness. He invites here based upon who he is himself. He invites here because he knows it’s here, like nowhere else, where our souls must rest in his embrace. It’s here, above and beyond every other place, where his children must grasp the wonder of what it means to be his own. Because of the cross and victory of Jesus, we are his and he is ours. We are his people, he is our God. We are his children, he is our Father. And he is enough.
Take That Step
And he will prove his enough-ness to us. He will show us time and time again that all we need is found in him. All that we lack meets its abundance in his grace. Surely, we would fail. The weight is too much, and like Paul, we can’t carry this in our own strength. But God is there. His sovereign hand is our guide. His heart of mercy is our anchor. He will make our faith stand. He will be our God in Jesus Christ. So then, let us go. Let us step out, following him further than our feet could ever wander. Let us walk upon those waters, in over our heads, not relying on ourselves, but holding fast to him, trusting in him, casting all our hope on him. Because he is enough.