I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers . . . in danger in the city, in danger in the country. . . . I have labored and have often gone without sleep . . . and . . . without food. . . .
After stopping for supplies in Front Royal, Virginia, along the Appalachian Trail, I enjoyed a delicious breakfast of buckwheat pancakes smothered in maple syrup. And sleeping in a bed the night before had felt luxurious after many nights of sleeping on the ground.
The apostle Paul had known many more hardships, however, in his travels to spread the good news of Jesus. Called to be a witness to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15-16), Paul traveled to countless destinations, often on foot. And not only were many of his journeys rough, but he also frequently suffered at the hands of hostile people. At times he was beaten, flogged, and even pelted with stones. He was shipwrecked three times, and he was thrown into prison. Several times he had to flee for his life. (For more about these struggles, see Acts 13-28 and 2 Corinthians 11-12.)
Of all of Jesus’ disciples and followers, Paul may have suffered the most on his many journeys. Yet he boasted in his weakness so that the power of Jesus could be revealed. Ultimately he boasted in Christ, who suffered so much more for him and for us. Our own hardships too reveal the weakness that brings us closer to Jesus, our Savior and our strength.
Lord, when we are weak, we are strong for you. Help us to let go of ourselves and to trust your working in us as we serve you and others. Amen.
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