2 Cor.7:5,6 – Even after we came into the province of Macedonia, we found no relief. We were restless and exhausted; troubles met us at every turn. Outwardly I faced conflicts and inwardly emotional turmoil. But God, who always knows how to encourage the depressed, encouraged us greatly by the arrival of Titus.
I love Paul’s openness in his struggles and how he uses the crisis as a point of ministry. This second letter to the church in Corinth is loaded with encouragement for those going through a time of testing (this may be a really good time to read it). Paul shares about the conflict he faced in ministry, the comfort he received and in verse four said he was literally overflowing with joy. His joy wasn’t because his circumstances changed; Paul’s joy was a spiritual joy that was overflowing despite his circumstances.
One of Paul’s trials was his concern over the church in Corinth. He had spent 18 months of his life there, preaching and making disciples. He loved the people there deeply and was concerned that his labor had been in vain. One of his disciples, Titus, returned to Paul from Corinth with a good report. Seeing Titus with the good news brought great comfort to Paul. He said the Lord knows how to comfort the depressed. The good news for us, He still knows how to comfort the depressed. Here are some observations on this passage from the Passion Notes.
“The Aramaic can be translated “on the outside battles and on the inside surrendering.” With great honesty, Paul discloses his feelings while in Macedonia. He was beset with adversaries who opposed him, problems and arguments within the church, and persecution at every turn. Paul was emotionally torn by all the conflicts among the believers and feared for Titus’ safety. He was worried about how the Corinthians would receive his severe letter, plus there is a hint in his words that his concern was wearing him down both physically and emotionally. Being honest about our emotions is the first step in finding comfort and peace. Paul’s example of a leader opening his heart to his people should not be missed by this generation.”
I love this alternate translation, “on the outside battles and on the inside surrendering”. That’s what I believe the Lord is looking for in this current crisis; we may not like our circumstances but I am surrendering on the inside to the Lord.