Die Hard Joy
‘And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom… Amen!’ 2 Timothy 4:18 NKJV
Paul lived most of his Christian walk in the thick of it. At the start of Acts 20, we read all the places he’s been taking the Gospel message to thousands of punters who hadn’t yet heard about Jesus. Big task, that. Consider it a bit like a Die Hard CU-mission week.
That is, if your mission week involves this – ‘Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked..' (2 Corinthians 11:25, NIV). Those kinds of things defined Paul's others-focussed life.
If you go to Paul’s list of struggles in 2 Corinthians 11 (verse 24 onwards), you’ll probably find something relatable. Paul was lonely, tired, in danger almost permanently. Where's the room for 'joy' there, then? Here's what he had to say- ‘none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy’ (Acts 20:24, NKJV). Bit of a plot twist, that.
So, how then? What did Paul have on his side? In his last letter, only months before he died, Paul wrote to Timothy THIS- ‘But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength...The Lord will rescue me.’ (vv.17-18 NIV). For him to get through all the trials of his past, and confidently face the hazy future, he needed to believe that God was greater than anything he would be met with. He needed faith. Simple as.
God still pulls out all the stops for us today. Check out knowmystory.co.uk: There’s some seriously good testimonies of God’s goodness in hard times.