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Despaired Of Life

For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life (2 Corinthians 1:8).

There are troubles in ministry that many men of God do not communicate to their flock. Paul, the apostle, declares that there are troubles that came upon him which caused him to despair even of life. The Contemporary English Version of the opening scripture says, “My friends, I want you to know what a hard time we had in Asia. Our sufferings were so horrible and so unbearable that death seemed certain. In fact, we felt sure that we were going to die. But this made us stop trusting in ourselves and start trusting God, who raises the dead to life.” We have heard of many men of God who have gone through perilous times in the course of ministry. Some of these stories beat the very understanding of man. There have been reports of men of God losing their families, going to prison and facing many other challenges while doing the work of the ministry. People are attempted to ask where the God they serve is. What they fail to realize is that there are troubles in ministry.

If you want to do the work of the ministry, and go the full length and course of ministry, you must get ready for troubles. It is a great deception to think that ministry is all rosy, No! Paul, the apostle, recounts several times in scripture, the troubles he had to endure for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of Christ: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; …. But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings… Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours 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. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches”. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 6:4-5, 11:23-28)

Paul, the apostle, encountered these things daily in ministry. “And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” (1 Corinthians 15:30-31). Persecution and troubles are the daily bread of the minister of God. Paul assures us, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:2). Get ready for persecutions for we are bound to suffer them. The sooner we accept this, the better for us.

Scripture admonishes us in 2 Corinthians 4:16 – 17, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”. When we go through trials, persecutions and afflictions, it all works for us our crown of glory.

When you hear of the troubles of men of God, do not be quick to point accusing fingers, assign blame or find fault with them. Rather, pray for them just as Paul, the apostle, encouraged the church to do – “brethren, pray for us” (1Thessalonians 5:25). When you hear such news, get ready for your season of persecution; for we all must go through persecution; in it is your glory. Do not be ignorant of this truth. Have a mindset ready to suffer persecution for the sake of the gospel. Shalom!

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