One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent."
Thoughts for Today:If the Lord came to Paul at night in a vision and told him to not be afraid, then it stands to reason that he must have been afraid. Paul had some very good reasons to be afraid - remember the stoning he took in Antioch and the beating he endured at Philippi? Paul had moved from a gentle "reasoning" with the Jews when he first arrived in Corinth, to now a full blown "testifying that Jesus was the Christ." And what happened next was completely predictable: first, "the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive," and second, "many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized."
I think Paul was just beginning to realize that his personal pain was tied to kingdom gain. In other words, the stronger he spoke the more he put himself at personal risk. Although I'm sure in his heart he was joyful at the results of his witness, in his mind he must have had difficulty managing the fear that sprang up because of the threats that were levied against him. So the Lord appeared to him and gave him two gifts, the same two gifts He gives to each of us in our darkest hours. We'll have to wait until our next devotion to find out what they are.
Questions to Ponder:I believe we are most attuned to God when we, like Paul in our passage today, are fearful. Can you relate to that? What are you fearful of? What is outside of your own personal control? Will you release it to God? In our next devotion we will look at God's gifts to Paul and to us in our times of distress. Are you listening to God or do you continue to seek your own solutions? Stay tuned.