For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.
2 Corinthians 7:5-7
The job that Paul had been given took it out of him! He physically was spent. Mentally and emotionally… even spiritually he was down and out. “Harassed at every turn – conflicts on the outside – fears within.” He was admittedly downcast.
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Because of circumstances… even because of the work of the Kingdom of Heaven, we can be discouraged, downcast and depleted. The infamous spiritual giant Paul experienced this. I guess it’s okay if I do too! I shouldn’t feel out of the range of normal when the emotional and physical tide rolls out.
What do I do in these moments? Where does my help come from? Paul wrote that God is the One who comforts the downcast. What’s significant for me this morning is not that He does, but how He does. For Paul, God sent Titus. And Titus had words of encouragement from the church for Paul. Their love and concern for Paul encouraged him and brought him much joy.
God uses people to encourage people. It is through relationships that God comforts the downcast and nurtures people’s souls. Life is hard, but God is good! He has provided what we need to continue on, living for Him.
It is vitally important that I engage in relationships because God does so much of His work through them. It is unhealthy to seclude ourselves from people. Isolation is not the same as solitude. We need solitude, but isolation is damaging to our souls. We’re tempted to isolate from people because, while God does encourage us through one another, people can cause us great pain. In spite of the difficulties, we must run toward authentic relationships. We will be encouraged.
It’s also vital that I engage in relationships because God wants to encourage the downcast through me. To be a tool for God’s love in the life of another person is pretty cool! This is also called ministry. We serve and encourage people through our relationships with them. We demonstrate love through our kindness and availability. As we serve in the Name of Jesus, God encourages people.
As I think of people that have encouraged me along the way, it was their availability that was used by God in my life.
Father, thank You for being relational! You have demonstrated Your great love through Jesus. You want this relationship with me and I am amazed! Thank You for the loved ones who have been used by You along the way to encourage me. Please use me for your glory and divine purposes to encourage others today.