Different kinds of suffering and affliction

Last updated on February 23, 2022

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For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within.” (2 Corinthians 7:5)

Paul experienced a lot of trouble when he shared the Gospel. Some of his hardships had to do with his journeys: being shipwrecked three times, being adrift at sea, being in danger from rivers and robbers… Even more suffering was caused by people resisting his work: he was stoned, beaten with rods, whipped multiple times, imprisoned… This impressive list from 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 is all about “external” afflictions. These were caused by Paul’s enemies or by difficult circumstances. But in verse 28 he adds one more thing: “Apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches”. This is an “internal struggle”. In 2 Corinthians 7:5 (NIV), he also talks about “conflicts on the outside, fears within”.

Some believers will never be persecuted for their faith. But they may face “fears within”. Satan wants to take away their joy and trust in the Lord. He tries to make them anxious and worried — about a pandemic raging, about the growing opposition against God in society, about their loved ones or fellow Christians going through hard times… There is so much to worry about!

Are you afflicted — by external or internal attacks?

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