Join the Parade!

by Jan Silvious

Second Corinthians, a book I have both studied and taught, is one of my favorites because of the personal insight the Apostle Paul gives us into his own feelings and struggles.

In this letter, he is writing to a group of people who have been led astray by false teachers. They have questioned Paul's authority and motives and have caused him no small amount of anguish, yet he continues to love them deeply. In fact, at one point, he writes, "The less that I be loved, the more that I love." What a sad, sad commentary from a man who knew the Lord intimately and loved his brothers and sisters in Christ.

We also glimpse another aspect of Paul's nature, one that we don't see anywhere else in the Bible-depression. "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. 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 Cor. 2:12-14).

Paul was not only a man who preached the truth but also lived by it. He demonstrates to the Corinthians the way to deal with that panicky feeling. While he confesses that he is too upset to stay in Troas, he gives thanks to God and moves on to Macedonia.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul writes, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!...The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus....Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you" (4:4-7,9).

Paul's three-fold plan for overcoming depression and panic is as effective for believers in modern-day America as it was for first-century Christians in Corinth and Philippi. When you are discouraged, when things haven't worked out and you don't know what to do next, even when you can't locate someone you love, peace is possible if you:

1. Rejoice! Be thankful that God is in control.

2. Confess your feelings, holding nothing back from Him.

3. Take action. Do something constructive.

You may not know what is going on, but God does. He is in control and will not concede His position. Join the parade-the "triumphal procession in Christ." We can celebrate because Jesus has triumphed!

From The 5-Minute Devotional

©Zondervan 1991