The past haunted him and the present intimidated him. Demons tormented him and his weaknesses humbled him. The attitudes and actions of people grated on him. Paul loved the Lord, he lived for the Lord, and he dedicated his life to serving the Lord. But it hadn’t been easy. Paul was exhausted and he didn’t know what to do. He wondered if the people around him knew what he knew…that he was weak and afraid.
Do you ever wonder if the people around you know what you know? How much the past can haunt you and the present intimidates you. How hard the devil works on you and how apparent your weaknesses are to you. How the attitudes and actions of people can grate on you. You love the Lord and you want to live for the Lord, but it’s not easy. How often have you fallen asleep like Paul, exhausted, weak and afraid?
You know what God did for Paul? He showed up to Paul in a vision and said, “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:9-10). In other words, “Carry on, Paul, because I will be carrying you.”
God hasn’t shown up to you in a vision, but he has shown up. 20 centuries ago he showed up in human flesh. Through his life and by his death he conquered the devil who torments you, and forgave the guilt that haunts you. And now he lives to hide your weaknesses in his power, so the present need not intimidate you. And just in case you forget, he shows up every day in his Word to tell you, “Don’t be afraid. Keep loving me and living for me. I have big plans for you and for the people around you. They’ll learn about me as my love shines in your life and as my message flows from your lips. Carry on…because I will most certainly be carrying you.”
Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be overwhelmed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10