In II Corinthians 1:8-11 Paul talks about one of his close encounters with death:
We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.
Another time Paul tells Timothy that “the Lord stood with me…and I was delivered out of the lion’s mouth.” There are many other passages that tell us about the hardships and suffering Paul endured, yet he did not die until he had completed the good work God started in him.
Today we may be threatened in different ways than Paul was, but there is still real and present danger in our world. North Korea promises to launch a missile, bombs go off killing and injuring hundreds of people, crazy persons shoot down innocent children. Our country is not immune to the increasingly violent and wicked acts of man.
The question remains: What can we do when we find ourselves in mortal danger as Paul did so many times in his life? The answer for us is exactly what it was for Paul in the first chapter of Second Corinthians. We must stop relying on ourselves and lean on God and the prayers of other believers. We can be confident that He will rescue us, stand with us and deliver us out of difficult circumstances, even death!
Does God rescue us every time we face death? Of course not! Someday we will complete the number of days He has given us and bring to a conclusion the good work He started in us. Until that time, however, we can be certain that He will stand by us and—with the prayers of the saints—deliver us again and again. No wonder then, that in the third verse of Second Corinthians, Paul refers to God as the “God of all comfort.”
Our confidence and reliance in times of trouble need be only in one Person. God. He will deliver us out of the lion’s mouth.