That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.”
Have you ever been discouraged? Have you ever felt as though your life were a failure? Or, have you have been frightened about the future?
None other than the apostle Paul experienced discouragement. After he said an emotional goodbye to the elders of Ephesus, he made his way to Caesarea, where he stayed with Philip the evangelist. Philip had a visitor named Agabus, a prophet. Agabus felt very impressed by the Lord that Paul should not go to Jerusalem. If he did, he would be arrested and bound.
To illustrate his point, Agabus bound his own hands and feet in Paul’s belt and said, “So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles” (Acts 21:11).
Well, Paul made his journey to Jerusalem anyway. And sure enough, just as Agabus had prophesied, he was arrested and incarcerated.
There was Paul, sitting in a prison—again. And it would appear from the circumstances that Paul was down. He was discouraged. He was concerned about his future. But then we’re told, “That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, ‘Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well’ ” (Acts 23:11). Jesus was saying to Paul, “Be of good courage.”
It takes courage to follow Jesus Christ and to share our faith with others. Where do we get that courage? God has all the power we need to face whatever might come our way. He won’t necessarily give us that power before we need it. But we can be certain that He will give us all the power we need when we need it. So trust the Lord. His power gives courage.
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