I am always greatly encouraged by the tenacity of people who continue to persevere and press on against incredible odds… especially those who do so knowing that they will face enormous opposition, ridicule and hardship.
In Acts 21, Paul is warned and even pleaded with, not to go to Jerusalem. They know he will be persecuted for his belief. But…
Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:13
Paul is not just a man of words but he follows through with his actions.
He goes to Jerusalem, is obedient to the elders (purification rites), gets seized by a crowd, is shouted at, the city is aroused (the city!) and is dragged out and they try to kill him – which took awhile because news had to reach the Roman Commander, he gathered some guards and soldiers and ran down to where Paul was – and finally the crowd stopped beating him. Then, then, he is arrested, bound feet and hands with two chains, and the violence of the crowd was so great he was carried into the barracks.
And you thought you’ve had a bad day!
How often, and I’m just as guilty here, do we say we are prepared to pickup our cross, suffer and even die for the sake of Jesus… and when a little hardship or persecution comes we complain and whinge and cry and moan…well, you get the idea.
And we do this over the littlest of things… I mean, how many of us have been thrashed to within an inch of our lives for our beliefs. And just before you raise your hand, did you enter into that situation knowingly? … the littlest of things are usually to do with our comfort or self being e.g. Job, the boss, money, global crisis, car is dinged, etc. Where is that strength of character – like Paul?
Maybe, just maybe, we need to realign our focus – I know I do.
Prayer: Lord, when I become like a petulant child whinging and moaning over something or other, please remind me of Paul and his strength of character. Please help me to focus on what is important. To Love Jesus, to Love people and to do my best… and to trust in You in all situations. In Jesus Name I ask it. Amen.