“When we arrived in Macedonia, there was no rest for us. We faced conflict from every direction, with battles on the outside and fear on the inside. But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus.” (2 Corinthians 7:5-6 NLT).
Paul has endured “troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. [has] been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food” (2 Cor. 6:5). In our focus scripture, Paul is speaking of external and internal battles and feeling discouraged. (Who can blame him, right?) But despite Paul’s hardships, we see God’s faithfulness in the midst. How?
Quite simply put, but God. ‘But’ is an interruption announcing that although a certain outcome was expected, it did not come to pass because of an unexpected disruption (but). I could have lost my job, but God. I could have lost my marriage, but God. I could have lost my children, but God. I could have been out on the streets, but God. I could have ended up addicted, but God. God’s grace is so endless, it can extend across a multitude of battles, both external and internal. His arm of grace is long enough to reach down into any pit you find yourself in and pull you out.
Paul was discouraged as he battled with both his circumstance and his own internalized fears. “But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged [him] by the arrival of Titus.” Notice our focus scripture doesn’t state, but God changed my circumstance. But God fixed all my marital problems. But God gave me the promotion at work. But God gave me the new car or God eliminated all my debt. No. It simply states God encouraged Paul by Titus’ arrival.
Titus showed up in the midst of all the troublesome circumstances Paul was facing. Titus showed up with a report full of joy and encouragement that brought a refreshing to his friend Paul. Titus didn’t show up to gossip, to have a pity party with Paul or dwell on the dire conditions that surrounded them. On the contrary, he encouraged and uplifted his friend (2 Cor. 7:7).
No one in our lives is there by accident. No one comes in or out of our lives by chance. God is very intentional, and he is in the details. Titus didn’t just happenstance show up, he showed up according to God’s timing. As we see turmoil all round us, first with Covid -19 (Coronavirus) and now with protest and riots all around us, who can you encourage today? If you are thinking, “I’m the one who needs to be encouraged.”, remember the very real principle of, you reap what you sow. Be and encourager and see God send people into your life that will bring you encouragement.
Will you become someone’s Titus in the midst of their circumstance, in the midst of their trouble and their pain? Allow Him to use you for His glory. If you find yourself dwelling in a pit of despair, allow God to extend his hand of mercy and grace to you and pull you out. Don’t wait. Receive his love and allow him to encourage you in the midst of your external and internal battles. “…But God.”
Recommended Reading: 2 Corinthians 6 and 7
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all the “Titus’s” you have sent into my life. They’ve all showed up according to your perfect timing at the season of my life when I needed them most. I pray that you would allow me to be someone’s Titus as they journey along life’s uncertain circumstances. Thank you for the joy you’ve instilled in me to share with those around me. Make me an encourager. In Jesus’s name. Amen!