In this passage, Paul is describing the trials and tribulations that he has faced throughout his life. He notes the fact that he may sound a bit foolish before he continues to go on somewhat of a rant. He notes that though he may not show it very often, he is just as capable of boasting about the hardships in his life as anyone else is. He provides us with some examples when he goes into detail about being shipwrecked, beaten, endangered, and lost. He then concludes with the fact that if he MUST "brag" about himself, he will brag about the things that point out his weaknesses. He knows that these thoughts are not from the Lord, but that the Lord knows he is telling the truth in all of these instances.
I find that this is more of a tricky one to turn to a particularly positive note, but I think that there are some valuable points that can be taken away from this. We can learn from Paul's example that it doesn't necessarily make our situation better when we choose to dwell on the negative aspects and trials that we may have faced / are currently facing. Furthermore, it doesn't benefit anyone when we compare our negative situations to others or try to have the "worst of the worst" situation. In those moments when we feel like we just can't handle the weight of our problems anymore and that we might break if we don't do something about it, we're allowed to talk about those feelings. We can rely on God to listen to us, understand what we are dealing with, and believe our pain.
This is extremely applicable today, especially with the growing implementation of social media. It can be so easy for us to log on and share our problems with all of our friends via a tweet, a status update, a caption on a picture, etc. It can seem as though we are always trying to out-do one another on the "struggle-scale" and that we all just want some sympathy from one another. And though this is very small scale, I think it is in these situations that we can take small steps into changing the atmosphere that we operate in, and hopefully spark change in other people as well. We can choose to spread positivity, both online AND in person, and take our thoughts of our overwhelming trials to the Lord. He is much stronger than our aunt's second cousin that liked our Facebook status about being sick. He hears us and He is always willing to help and guide us.
Dear Lord, I pray that when we may be tempted to compare our situations to others or convince ourselves that nothing could possibly be worse than this, that we will look to You for peace. I pray that when it may seem easy to boast about everything that may not be going in our favor, that we will remember all that HAS gone in our favor because of You. I pray that you bless our hearts and fill them with so much gratitude that there is no room left for thoughts that dwell on the negative. We love you and we thank you. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Author | Haley Hall