Acts 23:11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, ‘Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.’
Reading through this passage I found this a bit of an odd promise and encouragement that God makes to Paul. He has just been physically saved by Roman troops from a riot that wanted to kill him and then again from the Sanhedrin when they wanted to kill him. I would have thought that something more reassuring would have been “I’ll get you out of here” or “No more riots or anyone trying to kill you for a while.” I suppose in some ways that was what the promise was, but it was also only a temporary reprieve because he would have testify again in Rome, and if that didn’t go well he could end up being sentenced to a horrible death. And yet I have no doubt for Paul this would have been reassuring as it meant being given more opportunities to testify about Jesus, and the opportunity to do it in the heart of the non-Jewish world.
It is important to remember that the path God puts us on isn’t always the easy road, nor is it going to be free from troubles, but it is a path that will give us lots of opportunities to testify about him and it is also a path that will utilise our gifts, abilities and passions. There are many people who would have been scared stiff at the thought of having to go to Rome to testify, but not Paul, he would have relished the thought. When God puts challenges in front of us they will be things that fits the purpose he has for us so will appeal to our passions, gifts and abilities. It doesn’t mean it will be easy, but it means that we will find it fulfilling and worth the effort. We can also see that God will speak to us and encourage us in ways that work for us as individuals. God doesn’t apply a “one size fits all” approach to his interactions with us, rather he meets each of us in the way that we need. It is then up to us to respond.
Do you know what path God is calling you to follow? What are you doing to listen to him for clarity and direction?
What challenges might you face on your path? What motivation or encouragement have you got for facing these challenges? What else might motivate or encourage you?
How can you encourage or motivate others to follow the path God has for them?