We have all been there. We have all found ourselves in the bewildered state of living somewhere between what we know and what we feel. We have all faced the difficult life situations of unmet expectations, shattered hopes, scary unknowns, difficult relationships, on and on we could go. To put it another way, we have all asked the question, "Lord, are You here even in this? Is this situation outside of the boundaries of your care and control?" Paul himself even told his fellow believers, "...for we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired even of life itself." (2 Cor. 1:8) Surely, in such situations, Paul must have groped with the doubts, frustrations, and fears that we all too often face (only magnified 1,000 times!). So what was it that kept Paul going? What is it that we need to keep us going? I think the answer comes just one verse later. Here Paul explains, "But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead." (1:9)
Paul's confidence did not lie in what strength he could muster up. Paul's encouragement did not rise or fall on his own abilities or performance. No, Paul's focus and source of strength was in something very specific. Even more so, it was in a very specific person. It was in God Himself. This focus on God was not a vague generalization about God, however. It was a confidence in the work of God. Specifically, the work He demonstrated through Christ in raising Him from the dead. Being in Christ, Paul knew that the same deliverance that Jesus experienced in His resurrection is the same power that was at work on his behalf as well (Phil. 3:10). This is why, no matter what, Paul could say, "On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us yet again." (1:10)
So....back to the original question that we addressed at the beginning of this post. How can we answer the question, "Lord, are you here even in this? We can answer it with a resounding "yes". Even when our faith doesn't match our feelings, we can have the assurance that God is indeed for us because we have been radically delivered and identified with Christ. His victory is ultimately ours! There is no better confidence than that!