Scripture: 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, 30 I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches… If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
Devotional: I wish it was possible to be sitting across from you right now to hear your story, and your experience with trauma in your own life. While I don’t know what that is for you, I do know that God knows. God knows the deepest pain that you experience as a result of trauma in your life. And God has provided instance after instance of encouragement for you through His Word- stories of others who have experienced great trauma and promises of His very presence in the midst of them.
Today’s passage contains one such story of the apostle Paul. He writes of his trauma in a letter to the church in Corinth. At first look, it seems a bit boastful. But note in verse 30 he goes on to say that he is boasting of the things that show his weakness.
Nothing brings us to our knees like great pain. Nothing reminds us of our limits, of our humanity, of our needs, more than suffering. It shows us our weaknesses, and that is a good thing. For often it is through our suffering that we realize our great need for God.
Undoubtedly, Paul suffered what we would call complex trauma – that is, the kind of multiple and ongoing trauma that can surely take its toll on a person. He often feared for his very life. But we can learn from Paul the hope we can have even in the midst of this kind of suffering. We’ll read more about that tomorrow.
- Take a moment to acknowledge the trauma that you are facing or have faced in your life. What are those things that you have experienced?