Even afflicted Christians can experience joy

Last updated on February 25, 2022


In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.” (2 Corinthians 7:4)

All these stories about Christians facing persecution and affliction sound pretty depressing to me. Even when earthly life lasts only “a little while” when compared to eternity, it still can be pretty tough to endure 80 years of trouble! However, let’s have a look at Paul’s state of mind in all his affliction. He has not lost hope, but says that he is overflowing with joy! How can this be?

For one thing, Paul was greatly comforted by the news of the Corinthians having repented from their sins and having returned to God. This reassured Paul that his work was worth the trouble. But there is still a deeper level: “God, who comforts the downcast” made him rejoice.

In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, we read something similar. These people faced opposition immediately after they came to faith, but nevertheless “received the word … with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:6). This joy is supernatural. It is a gift of the Spirit and can therefore persist even “in much affliction”.

Have you ever been in difficult circumstances and nevertheless experienced peace and joy?

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