I’m so glad that the Holy Spirit doesn’t whitewash the lives of the great men and women of the Bible. He lets us see them for who they truly are. By showing us their strengths and weaknesses, we can identify with them and follow their examples.
We see this in the life of Paul the Apostle as we continue to look at his second letter to the Corinthian church.
Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said good-by to them and went on to Macedonia.
2 Corinthians 2:12-13
I find this verse to be very eye-opening. On the one hand, Paul acknowledges that it’s the Lord opening up a door of ministry for him in Troas. On the other hand, he had no peace of mind as he ministered in that city.
Why was that? It was all because of his anxiety over the whereabouts of his spiritual son, Titus. They were supposed to meet up in Troas, but Titus never arrived.
I think that we sometimes get too comfortable with the modern convenience of our smartphones. A simple text message, “Where are you? I just got to Troas. What’s your ETA?” can alleviate a lot of worries.
Back then, all they could do was to set a time and place to meet up. Then, if one didn’t show up, there was no way of finding out what the problem was.
In Paul’s case, he started to get anxious and worried about all the possibilities that could have caused this delay. However, Paul overrides all of this anxiety by his next statement.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.
2 Corinthians 2:14
The next words out of his mouth are an acknowledgment of the victory he has in Christ Jesus. The phrase, triumphal procession, means a victory parade.
That’s just like when a team wins the Superbowl or the World Series. They come back to their city and have a massive parade in the streets. That’s what Paul is talking about here.
We need to learn this lesson. We’re never called to deny what we’re going through. We don’t have to pretend that everything is flowers and butterflies. We can speak the truth of the challenge we’re facing, as long as we then declare the victory that Christ has already won.
“The doctor just gave me a bad report, but Praise God, Christ is my Healer and He has the final word.”
That’s why it’s so important to know who you are in Christ. It’s His victory that we’re walking in. We must learn to declare what He’s done for us.
Paul explained what Christ did in another of his letters.
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
This is the victory that the Lord won for us. It’s important to see this truth.
Never deny the challenge that you face. But, at the same time, never forget to declare the victory that Christ gives you over it.
You’ll find that this changes your whole outlook on the future.
Questions: What challenges do you face right now? What victory has Christ already won for you?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi