Paul writes, “We are troubled on every side . . . perplexed . . . persecuted . . . cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8–9).
“Trouble on every side” — Can you identify with this phrase? Perhaps you’re facing physical pain, marital distress, financial problems, concerns for your children. Life can be totally overwhelming at times.
The fact is, it is possible to be in God’s perfect will and still be cast down at times. We can walk in the very center of His will and still be perplexed, troubled and persecuted.
Some Christians have been troubled on every side for so long they think, “This cannot be of God. It’s all too much to endure. My suffering has gone on for too long and I feel utterly abandoned. The Lord must be chastening me for past sins. There’s no other explanation.”
Paul lays before us wonderful truth he clung to that kept him from despairing:
“Though our outward man perish, our inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).
Hear the truth Paul is declaring to us:
“Yes, all these many troubles and trials have worn down my outward body. My flesh is indeed slowing down. But, at the same time, something wonderful is happening in my soul. All these things are working together for good in me, and I am growing in my knowledge of the Lord and His ways.”
Paul knew he was living in God’s perfect will. He realized all his trials weren’t happening because he was under wrath. On the contrary, Paul knew more deeply than ever that he was greatly loved by the Lord.
In short, Paul had embraced his condition and was learning patience: “You have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36).