"I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:12-13).
No reader of these lines is likely ever to be called on to endure such suffering as the hardships experienced by the apostle Paul. These were summarized by him as follows: ". . . in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness" (II Corinthians 11:23-27).
And all of that was still several years before the end of his ministry which finally was terminated by months in a miserable Roman dungeon and then execution by beheading. Yet he could still say, very near the end: "The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, . . . Grace be with you. Amen" (II Timothy 4:18,22).
Our own problems, whatever the coming year may bring, will surely be trivial in comparison. The probability, in fact, is that our blessings will be much greater than our burdens. But, in any case, we can say with Paul, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me," and he could still count on God's promise: "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (II Corinthians 12:9). HMM