In the passage in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11, we see a shift in focus that God
caused in Paul and those with him. The situation they were in was dire:
Paul said, “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure,
so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts, we felt the
sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves
but on God, who raises the dead.” Did this surprising statement mean
they had not relied on God? I don’t think so but God wanted them to rely
on Him fully because of the power of resurrection. Often we don’t even
realize how self-reliant we are but God desires a focus shift in us as well.
We want to get out of a situation and He wants us to trust His power to
get us through it. Jesus showed us that.

In Gethsemane, Jesus was under great pressure; He knew death was close
and it would be more than anyone could endure. He asked Abba to take
the cup from Him but acquiesced to God’s purposeful will. He drank the
cup completely all the way to the release of His Spirit on the cross. He
knew intimately the agony of the cross but then the joy of resurrection
power over death. For us on this side of the cross and the gloriously
empty tomb, we choose and keep on choosing every day to rely on the
power and the meaning of the Resurrection.

EFCC has gone through being overwhelmed and under great pressure, too.
In July of 1971, the second pastor of Emmanuel Faith suddenly died of a
heart attack while on vacation in Canada. Pastor Coy Maret was greatly
loved during his 27 years of pastoring, teaching, loving, and ministering to
all ages. (I remember well how he spoke to the high schoolers who sat in
the front rows to hear him.) We were bereft and intensely sorrowful.
Knowing that God had a plan for EFCC, we would ‘keep on keeping on’ as
we relied on His direction and power. In July of 1972, one year later, Dr.
Richard Strauss answered the call to become the third pastor of Emmanuel
Faith. Later, there would be more times when God asked us to fully focus
on His power of Resurrection but those are stories for another time.

In reflection, do you remember times when you were more self-reliant than
God reliant even after becoming a believer? Do you have a story to share
of how God used your pressured time to cause you to fully rely on Him?
Do you think you might need a focus shift and a new perspective on God’s
power to resurrect?

Francie Overstreet

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