I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.
2 Corinthians 7:4
Christian relationships are deep and emotionally involved. Paul has written two letters to the church in Corinth, a city where he invested a lot of time starting a church, teaching disciples, living among its people, and loving its people. The first letter was full of rebuke for a church that had fallen so low as to take its eyes off Christ and had made a lot of self-driven mistakes. This second follow-up letter is more encouraging since the church had responded to Paul's rebuke with repentance and a determination to be holy and surrendered to her Savior.
These encouragements now flow from the loving heart of Paul, just as the rebukes did previously. He knows the way that the history he has had with Corinth was bound in the love of his heart. He knows how they have suffered and rejoiced and endured difficulties together. That brings a perspective of true joy, godly pride, and comfort.
The more life that I share with Christians, the more I feel this same way. After nearly twenty years at one church now (I am beginning to see it as my life's work and legacy), I know this source of overflowing emotion, joy and sometimes pain. Like Paul, I know Christian ministry flows through the heart. It is how Jesus is in it.