“I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.” Acts 20:23
My little family barely ever gets sick, thank God! We’ve only had one broken bone in sixteen years and it was just a pinky finger. There’s never been a need for stitches, long-term medication, or surgery of any kind. That’s the good news.
The bad news is: My kids don’t tolerate pain or discomfort very well. They’re so used to being healthy and well, they think the world is ending when they get hurt. A bruise can send Jocelyn into a dramatic spin for days.
That’s when I have to pull out war stories from the way-back machine.
When I tell my kids about an injury or illness that someone else or I have lived through, they calm down. Hearing about others who had it worse puts things in perspective. They begin to realize that what they’re going through could be far worse. Yet, if given the option, they’d still forgo their own mini-trial.
That makes Paul’s willingness to embrace prison and hardship in Acts 20 that much more admirable. Despite the Holy Spirit warning him in advance that he’s going to suffer for spreading the Word of God, Paul is not deterred. He is so on fire for God, he goes anyways.
It’s also important that the Ephesian Elders hear Paul say he knows he’s going to suffer, and then see him proclaim the Good News anyways. I believe that more than what Paul says, it’s what he does that teaches them the strongest lesson. The Ephesian Elders not only hear Paul talk about his conviction to glorify God, they witness it.
How many of us would willingly face prison and hardships for our beliefs? I know my kids wouldn’t, that’s for sure! If there’s pain or discomfort involved, they’d run the other way.
But the goal would be for me to be willing to do so, and not only tell my kids I’m willing, but show them. Not only do I need to talk the talk, but I need to walk the walk.
Question for Reflection:
*Am I willing to faced hardship for my beliefs?