Comfort In the Night
But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.” (Acts 23:11)
This must have been a difficult night for Paul. His greatest desire was to see the salvation of his fellow Jews (Romans 9:1-4), and two great opportunities to present the gospel to large and influential groups among the Jews had come to nothing.
It was in the darkness of that night when the fears came upon Paul; when his trust in God seemed to falter; when he worried about what God was going to do and if he was going to make it. It was in the darkness of that night that Jesus came to Paul and stood by him.
Paul was alone, but he wasn’t alone; if everyone else forsook him, Jesus was enough. Better to be in jail with the Lord than to be in heaven without him. Paul had been miraculously delivered from jail cells before; but this time, the Lord met him right in the jail cell.
We often demand that Jesus deliver us out of our circumstances when He wants to meet us right in them. We sometimes think we are surrendering to Jesus when we are only demanding an escape. God wants to meet us in whatever we face now.
Jesus was not only with Paul; He gave him words of comfort. The words be of good cheer tell us that the night brought with it an emotional and perhaps spiritual darkness upon Paul. Jesus was there to cheer His faithful servant after he had spent himself for Jesus’ sake.
Anyone can be of good cheer when everything is great; but the Christian can be of good cheer when everything is rotten, knowing that God is mighty and wonderful no matter what the crisis of the moment.
Paul could have been discouraged about the lack of results from the sermon in Jerusalem. But the results were not his responsibility. His responsibility was to bring the Word of God and to testify of Jesus; the results were God’s responsibility. You have testified for Me in Jerusalem means that Jesus complimented Paul on a job well done.
Yet, though Paul had done a good job, there was more to do. Rome was Paul’s next assignment. The greatest words a faithful child of God can hear are “There is more for you to do.” Those words grieve the lazy servant but bring joy to a faithful servant.
It can be said to every child of God: There is more for you to do. More people to bring to Christ, more ways for you to glorify Him, more people to pray with, more humble ways to serve His people, more hungry people to feed, more needy people to clothe, more weary saints for you to encourage.
Today, receive the encouragement Jesus has for you – then continue with His ongoing purpose for you.
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