“but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” 2 Corinthians 6:4-10 ESV
Paul almost seems to start into an ego trip of bragging about how wonderful he is compared to everyone else. It could seem like sitting down with one of those people that no matter what you say, they have done something better. Our challenge is to see his words in the way I believe they are intended, as a testimony of what God has brought him through, and how God can be glorified in the midst of it all. I am reminded of my encounters with some of the veterans that come into our coffee shop; some of them tell lots of stories and you see their peers shaking their heads and later you hear that most of the story is just from their imagination. But there are others who, in casual conversation, begin to tell of the times they were seriously wounded, and the times they feared they would not get home. Their conversation is not about bragging, it is shared out of thankfulness and amazement about what they survived.
What is our testimony? Are we sharing with others what we wished we could experience with God, or are we walking in such a way with Him that we can tell others the powerful touch of His presence that we have experienced? If the answer is of wishfulness, then perhaps it's time to press in and discover who God really is, and what he can do in our life. I don't want to simply tell people what God might do, my desire is to be like Paul, a living, moving, breathing testimony of God. But know this, that kind of walk comes with some struggles and some scars. Paul was not ashamed of what he had faced, he was proud of the one who delivered him through it all.