2 Corinthians 1:1…
At least two years have passed by since Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, which we have as the Book of 1stCorinthians.
Much has happened in Paul’s life and in the life of the church since Paul’s previous letter.
Paul has since gratefully received the news from Titus about how the church at Corinth received his prior letter, and that it was well-received, and its instruction followed by most in the church.
It is apparent Paul had agonized over whether or not this would be the case. There was so much wrong in the church Paul had addressed directly, and he was unsure whether his correction and instruction may do anything more than cause them to completely reject him, (even though he had gone through so much to plant the church.)
When you have so much personally invested – as Paul did at Corinth – to see it go so wrong so fast is dismaying and confusing. But rather than turning his back and rejecting them as they had rejected him, Paul brought the full weight of the conviction of God’s Holy Spirit through the Word of God to them in letter form.
They read it and responded. And they repented of their carnality, which had directly led to the wickedness present in the church. Praise God!
But some questions lingered, which Paul begins to address here in his follow-up letter to the church. Some wondered, (apparently aloud, and possibly in protest,) why Paul had not returned to them in the timeframe he said he would.
Paul opens his second letter addressing this issue, because it impacts his credibility.
What Paul says, quite effectively, is he is a willing pawn in God’s hands. He does make plans, and he does intend to follow his plans, but when God redirects his plans he is as open to redirection as he is to direction. This is a great lesson for all Christians willing to listen and yet another life lesson provided by Paul.
Paul goes so far as to say God may direct us into places of difficulty so we may learn of His ability to comfort us in our difficulty to the extent we may comfort others in their difficulty. Sometimes our afflictions may be for the purpose of providing consolation and salvation to others.
God’s plans are so much higher than our plans, and the things we go through in life – whether wonderful or woeful – are all God-filtered. To employ my present experience with Christ for the sake of others becomes the goal of Christian life. Paul readily says here, “It is never about me, but FOR Christ in you.”