All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel!
He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.
We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort - we get a full measure of that, too.
When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times.
When we see that you're just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you're going to make it, no doubt about it.
We don't want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn't think we were going to make it.
We felt like we'd been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally - not a bad idea since he's the God who raises the dead!
And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he'll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing.
You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation - I don't want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God's deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)