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Paul Lists His Trials and Sufferings

So as I said before, please don’t mark me a fool; but if you must, then please accept me even as that and give me a little more room to boast. What I am saying now is not in character with our Lord but is the bragging of a self-assured fool. Just as other fools brag according to their worldly accomplishments, so I, too, will have to boast;meanwhile, you—so wise, so tolerant—gladly bear this kind of foolishness. How easily you tolerate becoming another’s slave, having them consume you, letting them rob youblind, or allowing them to edge their way past you or slap you in the face.Embarrassingly I admit that next to them we must look very weak!

But in whatever way they dare to boast—remember, I’m speaking in character as a fool—I dare to boast even more! Are they Hebrews, God’s chosen? So am I. Are they true Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants to the Anointed One, the Liberating King? I am even more so! (I can’t believe how foolish I sound.) I have worked harder for God’s kingdom, taken more beatings, been dragged in and out of prisons, and have been eye-to-eye with death. Five times I have withstood thirty-nine lashes from Jewish authorities, three times I was battered with rods, once I was almost stoned to death, three times I was shipwrecked, and I spent one day and night adrift on the sea. I have been on many journeys and faced the most extreme circumstances: perilous rivers, violent thieves, and threats by my own people and by the Gentile outsiders alike. I have faced dangers in the city, in the wilderness, and at sea; and danger from spies among our brothers and sisters. I have survived toil and hardships, sleepless nights, hunger and thirst without a crumb in sight, bare to the cold. As if these external trials weren’t enough, there is the daily stress I feel and anxiety I carry for all the churches under my care. Who is weak without this arousingmy empathy? Who gets hurt and offended without this inciting my burning anger? (vv. 16-29, The Voice)

Categories: 2 Corinthians, paul, suffering

Suffering: Conclusion

The end of a year can bring a sense of closure to difficult times.

But we all know that the next year will hold more, different ways to suffer.

The most comforting thing for me to remember as I reflect upon this unpleasant truth is that God, too, has suffered.

We are not alone in our pain. Therefore, we can face it.

Categories: suffering

Suffering Servant

One of the most famous and important descriptions of Jesus is found in Isaiah 52:13-53:12.

Jesus’ suffering is described in great detail.

Categories: jesus, suffering

Avoid Suffering

In Proverbs 11:15, we’re told to be wary of lending money and cutting deals with strangers.

Good advice!

Categories: Money, proverbs, suffering

Eye for Eye, Tooth for Tooth

Leviticus 24:20 is notorious. People complain that, followed through to its logical conclusion, “the whole world will go blind.”

But nobody denies the necessity of a criminal justice system, and this law was intended to limit punishment, not perpetuate it.

If you allow one comparable punishment for a crime, then the felt need for justice is fulfilled. It is appropriate to suffer through a proportional human consequence for sin.

Categories: law, sin, suffering

First Suffer

The first time the word “suffer” appears in the Bible, God is standing up for Cain, first murderer in history.

It doesn’t describe Adam and Eve’s pain, and it doesn’t refer to Abel’s murder.

Rather, God is reassuring Cain that his enemies will suffer if they take vengeance on him. It’s a word of caring in an impossibly difficult situation.

Categories: Abel, Adam, Cain, Eve, genesis, suffering

Concordance: Suffer(ing)

The word suffering appears in the NIV 72 times.

Suffer occurs in some way a total of 150 times.

Categories: suffering
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