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The burden of his call drove Jeremiah relentlessly towards the fulfillment of his prophetic mission. He experienced the tension of belief in that call over against the personal agony associated with the response to that call. On one occasion, he went so far as to say that he would never again speak in the divine name.
Jeremiah might well have been tempted to shrink from the call of God when it summoned him to attack the religious and commercial vested interests of Jerusalem in his day. The outer circumstances of his life were the context in which Jeremiah’s inner, lonely suffering took place.
The New Testament letter of Paul illustrate the pressures of loneliness and burden-bearing. Nowhere are the dimensions of pressure experienced by Paul so clearly etched as in 2 Corinthians:
In 1:3-11 he refers to his afflictions in Asia (v.8…for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself).
In 2:1-4 and 7:5-13 Paul mentions the agony of offering disciplinary advice to the Christians in Corinth (v.4 ‘For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you’).
In 2:12-13 the longing of Paul for the coming of his brother preacher (Titus) bringing news about the state of affairs in the church at Corinth not only causes him deep mental distress but prevents him from taking up opportunities for ministry that lay before him.
In 4:7-18 and 6:3-13, the physical sufferings and inner turmoil of Paul and his companions in ministry are described in terms of costly suffering for the spiritual benefit of others.
in 11:28, after cataloging the many external difficulties he faced in carrying out his ministry, Paul refers to the ‘daily pressure’ (burden, concern of his anxiety for ‘the churches.’ Pastoral oversight is a heavy load to carry.
Paul also is described as experiencing the grief of having to lose a close companion (Barnabas): and of needing to take tough decisions. Paul, if he was the author of 2 Timothy, was disappointed and grieved over the departure of Demas, and was apparently lonely because only Luke of all his close friends was with him at the time of writing his second letter to Timothy. In this context, Paul needed the fellowship of his younger brother in Christ (‘Do you best to come to me soon’).
In addition, Paul had to endure many false accusations, sometimes from those who were widely respected in the church.