Everybody goes through difficult times. God can seem far away. Friends don’t know how to help. Or you may even feel like pushing everyone away. How have you handled rough stretches?

Paul and Timothy were no strangers to suffering: separated from family and friends; sick and tired; tired and sick; ship wrecked; thrown into prison; rejected; and beating. So it was from hard personal experience that they wrote to the church at Corinth. They had been through a lot, yet they had also received a lot from God. They especially wanted the Corinthians to know how God’s encouragement and help often came through other believers. Here’s what God taught the early church about hanging in there.

Step 1: Share the Pain

Although Paul was a tough person, he was willing to tell other believers about his needs. Be honest with yourself, with God, and with at least one trusted person about what you’re going through.

Step 2Share the Comfort

Encouragement and practical help seem to multiply when a person reaches out. God does some of his most amazing healing when we are willing to be helped and to help others next time.

Step 3: Share the Hope

The apostles knew the future would probably hold more problems. But they were just as sure that God would be ready to see them through the problems. Encourage yourself and your friends with that certainty.

Note: Read 2 Corinthians 1: 3-11 



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