I think Apostle Paul was kind of crazy.
Before you think I’M crazy too let me explain.
Paul was beaten multiple times by rods.
He was pelted nearly to death with rocks.
He was shipwrecked three times.
Wherever he went he was always in danger.
He was in danger from Gentiles who were not sure what to make of him and the message he was sharing with the world.
He was in danger from his own people, the Jews, who didn’t always agree with what he said.
He was in danger in the city and in the country.
On land and on sea.
He had nights where he didn’t get an ounce of sleep.
He had days where he had no food to eat and no water to drink. (2 Corinthians 11:25-27).
He had the worst of days not once, not twice, but many times.
All while he was doing his best to do what God called him to: spread the good news of the gospel to everyone around him.
If I was in his shoes I probably would have given up on my mission long ago.
I would question God’s goodness in my life.
I would wonder if this was really the best way I could live my life.
But not Paul.
When he is falsely accused and thrown into prison once again, this time with Silas, what do you find him doing?
Not sending a complaint up to heaven about how unfair his situation was.
No, he was praying and singing hymns to God. (Acts 16:25)
And this is why I think Paul is crazy.
If I had a chance to meet him face to face the first question I would ask him would be “Paul, what in the world is wrong with you? How is it that the first thing you want to do when you are thrown into a prison cell is praise God?”
That would probably be the furthest thing from my mind at that moment.
And I think he would reply to me with something along the lines of what he wrote in his letter to the Philippians.
He would say, “These chains? They are not that big of a deal. Not when I’ve been eternally set free with Christ. These bruises on my body that make it unbearable to remain still? They are only temporary. They will heal in time. My hungry stomach that’s begging for a morsel of food? It will eventually be filled.
See it doesn’t matter what place I am in today. Whether I’m bound up in a prison cell, relaxing in a warm house fellowshipping with people I love, or preaching on the cold street.
It doesn’t matter whether I am barely getting by or have absolutely everything I could possibly think of that I need.
It doesn’t matter if I’m having a good day or a bad day.
I have learned the secret of being content.
I have learned that no matter what I’m facing it doesn’t really matter because as long as I have Jesus I will have everything I need (Philippians 4:11-13).
He’s the reason why I sing praises in a prison cell.
He’s the reason why I get up every day and preach His Word even if it will lead me to being beaten and chained.
He’s the reason why I am thankful even when I’m in need.
He’s the reason why I live.”
Wow. That’s a testimony I would like to have.
So many of us are busy looking for happiness, trying to acquire as many possessions as possible, chasing the American Dream.
We are always searching for that “something more” that will give us the ultimate satisfaction that we seek.
And we forget… that the secret to true joy will never be found in a possession, in a person, or in the perfect circumstance.
True joy will only be found in Christ.
And His joy is the kind that isn’t based on situations.
It’s based on the promise, the strength, and the hope that we find in Him.
It’s the kind that when we find ourselves at the lowest points of life, when we are the ones feeling stuck in a prison cell, when we are the ones tossed on turbulent waters at sea, when we are the ones beaten down and worn out by circumstances in life we will still be able to lift up our voice and sing.
We will be like Paul and we’ll say “At this moment I am down to nothing. I am broken. I am stuck. I am in need. But it doesn’t matter because I have Christ and He’ll give me the strength that I need and no matter how hard life is, with Him I always have a reason to live.”
Today, I want to challenge all of us to be like Paul: a little crazy.
To lift up our voice with praise in our “prison cell” moments in life.
To declare that He is the One who will get us through when we are desperately in need.
To find our joy and peace not in our circumstances but in Him.
And then just like Paul we will learn that in the end…. Christ is really all we will ever need.
Be blessed…. and remain content with Christ no matter what circumstance you find yourself in! -Anna… ♥
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13