How Can You Suffer Well?

2 Corinthians 11:23, 30-31 – Are they servants of Christ? I am better one – I am talking like a madman – with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death…If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 

When ministry funding was lacking, Paul worked as a tentmaker to pay for the needs of his gospel ministry (Acts 18:1-3). Sadly, a popular myth has emerged that men of God should be soft, not hard; passive, not active; weak, not strong. 

Nothing could be further from the truth when examining the life and ministry of Paul. He was relentless, endured suffering much like a military prisoner of war, and never waved a white flag of surrender but kept marching forward unflinching. 

Constantly enduring spiritual warfare against Satan, demons, and enemies of the gospel, Paul made a list of his sufferings in 2 Corinthians 11:24–28: 

  • He was whipped with 39 lashes five times. 
  • He was beaten three times.
  • He was stoned one time.
  • He was shipwrecked three times. 
  • He was arrested three times.
  • He was imprisoned two times.
  • He was frequently in danger from both Jews and Gentiles. 
  • He was often hungry, thirsty, cold, and tired.
  • He was anxious for all the churches. 

If Paul had a job description, it would be: “afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger” (2 Corinthians 6:4–5). He also represented the most perseverance and joy through all of these afflictions, something we can all learn from and relate to. 

Read 2 Corinthians 11:24-28 to read about Paul’s sufferings. Pray for those who are suffering like this around the world for their faith.

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