But Unconquered

by | Aug 2, 2023 | Missions

The heading to 2 Corinthians 4:7-15 in the NKJV is “Cast Down But Unconquered.” Missionaries in this way are all like Paul. They are servants who may be cast down but have “this treasure (the gospel message) in earthen vessels” (NKJV).

Like Paul missionaries have times of inward and outward trials; perplexity, persecution, and disappointment. Yet Paul says that through all of this he was not “crushed” or “in despair” or “forsaken” or “destroyed”.

Inward struggles may be part of the perplexity Paul experienced or the disappointment in the response to his ministry. Missionaries understand the perplexity of inward struggles, when the devotional life becomes dry even when the ministry is outwardly prospering, or when the response to the ministry may be disappointing.

Paul gives us simple directions for times of perplexity and disappointment in verses 13–15 of 2 Corinthians 4.

First, Paul shows us that faith is what kept him going. He quoted Psalm 116:10 and then commented on that verse, “I believed and therefore I spoke, we also believed and therefore speak.” Although perplexed and even cast down Paul believed and so did not stop ministering, but kept teaching and preaching. He believed in the power of the Word of God!

Secondly, Paul’s unwavering belief in the resurrection kept him faithful in the midst of perplexity. He says to the church in verse 14, “knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.” Paul looked to the future so the present became less difficult as he understood that all he experienced was for the glory of God for both himself and those to whom he ministered.

I’m reminded of William Cowper’s hymn, “Sometimes a Light Surprises the Christian While he Sings.” So sometimes a light surprises the missionary while he continues faithfully in the work to which the Lord has called him.

Please pray for missionaries who hold the gospel in “earthen vessels” and may be at times perplexed or disappointed in the ministry.

This article is included in the August 2023 publication of RBNet Monthly. If you would like to receive this and other updates through email, please subscribe to our mailing list below.

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