“For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of (burdened beyond) measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:”2 Corinthians 1:8-9
I have heard many inspirational stories of those who have come to this great country and have made a success of themselves. I was always intrigued by the life of Arnold Schwarzenegger because he was bigger than life and I aspired to be like him. I hung up pictures of him in the garage where I lifted weights, and I was motivated by him as I pumped iron. I fell way short of Arnold due to my lack of discipline, my love of food, and my genetics. I still have a canvas picture of Arnold in my garage, but I have given up hope that I will ever look like him even now when he is well past his prime. Arnold has made a great success of himself, but no matter what he may say, he did not get there by himself.
I have heard it said by successful people that they are a self-made woman or man. They are saying that nobody has helped them along the way, or in spite of others, they still got to where they are due to their own hard work and dedication. It is as if they raised themselves with no help from others and taught themselves everything they know. If you really think about this concept, it is comical and a far cry from the truth. No matter how hard you have worked or what you have pushed through, there is not one person who did not have help from others. Even those who endured a rough childhood or difficult circumstances and came out on the other end learned something from the difficult circumstances. They think they endured these things and succeeded in spite of them, but they don’t think they succeeded because of them. They fail to see God in all of it, and He allows things in our life for His honor and glory.
The world may make statements such as this, but for the Christian, these words ought not to escape our mouth. The Apostle Paul was burdened beyond what he could physically endure on his own. I know some of you have been there yourself as you have faced overwhelmingly difficult circumstances in your life – circumstances that may have started when you were a child, circumstances that were devastating in adulthood, or maybe the loss of someone who was dear to you. God uses these circumstances in our life to show us that we are not self-made and that we are dependent on Him. If you think you are self-made, just wait, and you will soon realize that God can and will humble you where you will come to know that nothing happens without the divine hand of God.
Where are you today? Do you think you are self-made? Have you come to realize that you are nothing without God, or are you still in need of some humbling? What will it take for you to realize that we are frail and mortal? God is the source of our strength, and He is the One who allows trials and tribulations that we may be shaped into His image and likeness. We are nothing without Him, but with Him all things are possible. May the trials of life draw you toward the might hand of our Father, and may we give all glory to Him in the things He allows us to accomplish.