Psalm 63:3, “Your steadfast love is better than life…”
2 Corinthians 1:8, “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”
These two passages, when taken together, bring forth a powerful truth that should sink deep into our souls. The first thought is this, there is something better than living the best humanly possible existence on earth… God’s Love. In fact, it is God’s love that gives this life meaning. Then, it is also worth considering that God’s love is worth dying for. Jesus stated this once… “Anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it” (Mt 10:39).
But this attitude doesn’t come natural for us. Therefore God actively works to teach us that HE is better than life. Thus 2 Cor 1:8-9. We don’t know what happened to Paul and his companions… but it was serious enough for them to come close to dying. God did this for a reason which is found in v 9b… “To make us rely not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead.”
God is not near so concerned with living as He is with Godliness and faith in Him. Did you get that? God is more interested in the believer’s likeness to Christ than he is living to age 80 with health and material blessings. If it makes the believer more like Christ to encounter difficulty… of the most extreme kind… to the point of dying, God will bring it about.
THIS is why James writes “Count it all JOY when you encounter various trials…” This is not taken to mean we enjoy the trial, but rather WHAT the trial will bring about… conformity to Christ.
Therefore, could I suggest that we look at any and all difficulty that comes into our life in the context of the Scripture? If/when we do that, we will glorify God regardless of our circumstances.