Yes and Amen
His promises are “Yes” and “Amen”! Did you hear worship bands say this and ever wonder where it came from? I know I did. Is it actually true?
Paul was writing to the church in Corinth. He had meant to return to them, but he was not permitted by God yet, as it would not have been a benefit to the people. He did not mean to sound wishy-washy to them by saying that he was coming, and then had not. He explained to them that God is faithful and the message Paul received is that he would be able to come to them in time.
He was affirming to them that God’s promises are always true. We can trust and rely on His word alone, not on man’s. Paul was needed in Asia at the time he wanted to come to Corinth. But during that time, he and the disciples with him suffered greatly. It says to the point that “we were completely overwhelmed – beyond our strength – so that we even despaired in life. Indeed, we personally had a death sentence within ourselves, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises from the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9)
This strong man of God was at his breaking point. He despaired in life. The pain and agony of his sufferings were too great. His strength was gone. His only reliance and trust were on the God who can raise people from the dead. He felt dead in himself. He needed the Lord’s resurrection on his life to be fueled to keep going, to do his ministry, and to live again.
Paul realized that his strength was not of his own abilities. “Now it is God who strengthens us, with you, in Christ and has anointed us. He has also sealed us and given us the Spirit as a down payment in our hearts” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). The source of strength came through God, in the form of help from others, and the power of the Holy Spirit that resided within him.
That’s a lot of help. That’s a lot of strength. When we are completely weak within ourselves, God works within and around us to hold us up.
“The LORD is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit. Many adversities come to the one who is righteous, but the LORD delivers him from them all.” (Psalm 34:18-19). Whether we are crushed spiritually, physically, mentally, or emotionally, God is with us.
We are guaranteed to have trouble in this life due to a sin-filled world. “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world” (John 16:33).
Paul also mentions that by enduring the suffering, we will also have great comfort. “For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows” (2 Corinthians 1:5). We are never left in our sufferings without hope. Everything that we endure has purpose:
“If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is experienced through the endurance of the same suffering that we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will share in the comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:6-7).
This is why living in community is so important. We all suffer, but we endure together. We ourselves are comforted, thus we can be a comfort to others. God gives us strength, and therefore, we can hold others up in His strength as well. We are weak in ourselves, but we have the Holy Spirit’s power residing in us to empower us to do beyond what we are able.
Paul and the close community around him suffered greatly for the cause of Jesus Christ. He endured imprisonments, beatings, five episodes of flogging (39 lashes with bone/spike covered straps), stoning, shipwrecks, floating on the open sea, natural disasters, theft, dangers from various people, hard labour, hunger, thirst, insomnia, and lack of necessities. He also dealt with the weight of responsibility in carrying the gospel to foreign people and ministering to the churches he started.
Can you imagine how physically disabled and mentally drained he would have been? Yet, that never stopped him. How is that possible?
Paul was greatly comforted. God gave him visions, dreams, and revelations of Himself, paradise, and a bit of the glory and Kingdom that is coming. He spoke to him personally and rescued Paul multiple times. He gave him great comfort.
God assured him, in his sufferings, that “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9a)
Because of this, Paul was able to testify and thrive in his infirmities. “Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9b-10).
“For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content – whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
When we are pounded by afflictions and sufferings in this life, it is key to be grounded in the word of God; to lean into and equip ourselves with the truth that He has given us. It is important to surround ourselves with Christ’s community. It is imperative that we keep our focus on the Lord and not on our circumstances. Through His power and the people He brings around us, we can have the strength to endure, and therefore comfort and help others through their sufferings as well. Don’t turn your eyes to yourself or you’ll drown in your woes. Keep His purposes in mind. Your life has great value.
Remember that His promises are true. “For every one of God’s promises is “Yes” in Him. Therefore, the “Amen” is also spoken through Him, by us for God’s glory.” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Declare His promises with a great Amen! It is all for His glory in the power of Jesus’ might name! Press on dear one and know that you are loved.