We have seen that suffering was an integral part of Paul’s experience as an Apostle of Christ. To our surprise, the Apostle actually embraced suffering, seeing it as a means to attain deeper fellowship with his Master as well as to ensure that he remained humble. Even more stunning, this Great Apostle welcomed the weakness that accompanied suffering so that he might become stronger by having to depend all the more on Christ.
It becomes clear that suffering, far from being an impediment, was actually seen as a powerful, creative tool of spiritual power to be wielded with confidence in Christ’s service. We can only stand in stunned silence before such faith. Yes, Paul was of frail flesh and blood. All who have studied his writings know of his stubbornness, rash decisions and confrontational style. He failed, faltered, fell; but he never stopped loving his Lord and Savior, nor seeking to serve Him with every fiber of his being.
It is always best to give this Great Apostle the last word. May we take it to heart, for he always writes with his beloved fellow Christians warmly treasured there.
312Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians)