We all go through trouble in life. People respond differently to it. There are Christians who hold the view that insufficient faith causes the troubles whilst others think that our sins are the cause of the troubles. How then should we look at afflictions in a believer’s life?

The proper attitude should not be one of resentment, as if they ought not to happen to us; still less with embarrassment, as if they are some slur on our Christian spirituality. Trouble, Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 1:1-11, is a part of our normal Christian experience, binding God’s people together in mutual dependence and concern, generating ministries of encouragement and consolation among us. It is how God links us with the very experience of Jesus Himself. We have the huge privilege as the people of the Messiah to participate in His tribulations that bring in His kingdom. And (perhaps most encouraging of all) troubles in a Christian’s life have a purpose for the life of the people of God generally, a purpose in our lives individually, and a purpose that will even enrich the life of heaven through multiplying the prayer and the gratitude which surround the throne of God. That is why James is right when he says, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials (James 1:2).

The apostle Paul wants us to realize that leadership did not elevate him into some kind of elite, where weakness and failure are unknown. Being an apostle led Paul into greater depths of self doubt, greater and more humiliating awareness of his own inadequacy than he would ever have believed possible.