STRUGGLES IN MACEDONIA

Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 7:5

“For even when we arrived in Macedonia, our bodies had no ease or rest, but we were oppressed in every way and afflicted at every turn – fighting and contentions without, dread and fears within [us]” [2 Corinthians 7:5 Amplified Bible].

Paul first went to Macedonia on his second missionary journey having had a clear vision of a man from Macedonia pleading with him to come over to Macedonia and help us [Acts 16:9-10]. It proved to be a tough assignment.

He and Silas commanded a python spirit to come out of a medium. Her owners, no longer able to use her to make money, were angry and stirred up a mob against Paul and Silas. They were stripped, beaten with rods and thrown into prison, and their feet clamped in stocks. Paul’s first visit to Macedonia was not easy. Obeying God’s call does not guarantee an easy life, but He promises to be with us and to bless us.

Paul’s second visit to Macedonia followed his writing a very severe letter to the Corinthians in which he challenged them about the sin they were allowing in the church. Whilst Titus delivered the letter to Corinth, the Lord opened a door for Paul to minister in Troas. Although the Lord had opened this door for Paul he was in no state to minister in Troas, and went instead to Macedonia [2 Corinthians 2:12-13].

God’s Word tells us that Paul had no ease or rest in Macedonia. The Greek word translated as “no rest” [2 Corinthians 7:5] literally means to have no peace of mind! He faced conflict from every direction, with battles on the outside and fears within. The enemy was attacking his mind! He was questioning if he had done the right thing in writing a severe letter to the church at Corinth, and if his relationship with them had been damaged beyond repair. Paul’s anxiety was compounded by the fact that he had received no news from Titus. Paul is struggling with acute anxiety!

There are times when we too struggle in a similar way. Paul wrote elsewhere about the burden he carried for the care of the churches [2 Corinth. 11:28].

Over the years I have learned that when our heart is right toward God and we have to make difficult decisions we can trust Him with the consequences. God can use even the mistakes we make for good if our heart is right with Him.

Nevertheless, the enemy will do all he can to make us anxious and afraid. God’s Word says, “Cast all your care [that which divides your mind] upon Him for He cares for you” [1 Peter 5:7].

Questions:

Why is it encouraging to understand that mistakes that we make when our hearts are right with God will never prove to be fatal but God will bring something good out of it?

Satan seeks to divide our mind and make us double-minded. What is God’s remedy for this in 1 Peter 5:7?