vs. 1. God gave grace to the Macedonian churches, and Paul wanted the Corinthians to know about it.
vs. 2. The Macedonians experienced a severe trial. Out of this trial, they had both an overflowing joy and extreme poverty. Somehow, these welled up in rich generosity.
This is contrary to what we would expect. We would expect people in extreme poverty to be sad, not joyful, and to cling to what little they have, not to be generous. However, I have seen numerous examples of this overflowing joy and generosity in the midst of extreme poverty right here in Honduras throughout the past 11 years.
It’s important to also note that these are Christians who are experiencing this severe trial. Jesus said we would have trouble in this world (John 16:33), and this is just one example of that. We must remember though, that God said:
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.” –Hebrews 13:5b (NIV)
O Lord, help us, we pray, to never lose sight of the joy that we can have in you, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. Help us to remember that we can best tell the world that we are your disciples when we show our love to each other, especially as we give out of our own need. Thank you for always being with us and not abandoning us, even when we fail you. Amen.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13:35 (NIV)