How did the Holy Ghost bring comfort to Paul during his downcast times? The apostle himself tells us: “God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus” (2 Corinthians 7:6). Titus arrived in Macedonia with a refreshing spirit, and suddenly Paul’s heart was lifted. As the two men fellowshipped, joy flooded through Paul’s body, mind and spirit, and the apostle wrote, “I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all my tribulation” (7:4). Paul was declaring, “I still face problems, but the Lord has given me what I need for the battle. He has refreshed me through Titus.”
Throughout my years in the ministry I’ve seen men and women of God come to the end of their endurance, cast down low and utterly confused. I’ve anguished over these dear brothers and sisters in their pain, asking the Lord, “Father, how will these servants of yours ever get out of such a pit of suffering? Where is the power that will bring them out? What can I say or do to help them?”
I believe the answer is found right here, in Paul’s testimony. Here was a man so deeply weary that he was no longer himself. Paul was at the darkest time of his ministry, as cast down as he’d ever been. Yet within a few short hours, he was completely out of that dark pit and reveling in joy and gladness. Once again, the beloved apostle felt loved and needed.
How did this happen? First, let’s look at what happened in Corinth. When Titus arrived there to meet with the church leaders, he received his own glorious refreshing. An awakening was taking place in the church because they had heeded Paul’s instruction, and now God was blessing them mightily.
Titus arrived back in Macedonia with the encouraging news: “Paul, the brethren in Corinth send their love! They’ve removed the sin that was in their midst and dealt with the false prophets. They no longer despise your sufferings but instead rejoice in your testimony.”
This refreshing word, brought by a dear brother in the Lord, immediately lifted Paul out of his pit: “God that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us [me], by the coming of Titus” (2 Corinthians 7:6). Do you see the example here? God uses people to refresh people. He didn’t send an angel to refresh Paul. The comfort this man received came through the refreshing of Titus’ spirit, who in turn refreshed Paul’s.