2 Corinthians 2:14
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere.
There is no place that God leads his people that is not both validating and victorious. The very sufferings of Paul were the validation of his ministry, and that was victory enough. Paul was announcing that Christian suffering was not the exception but the norm. Even in the absence of friends, Paul was confident of his Lord’s good will toward him. The circumstances certainly had done damage to Paul’s body and emotions, but his hope was unshaken. Paul was illustrating that when one suffers it sends the world a message that such a person has been with Jesus in a real way.
Today in your life, when those around you do not believe in you or take you seriously, you can rejoice with Paul in Jesus Christ because He is leading you in a triumphal procession. He is validating that you are His. The absence of friends and the presence of pain is an expression of God sharing His heart with you, and not only His heart, but His victory. You now understand more what it was like for Jesus to suffer and people are seeing Jesus in you every day; the same Jesus who “for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2).