I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel
with the strength that comes from God. (2 Tm 1:6-8)
Paul was a real mensch.
He, if anyone, had reason to complain.
He had gone through incredible suffering. He was routinely looking over his shoulder and running for his life so that he could bring the Word of God to as many people as possible.
Even when fate caught up with him, he continued to write to his communities from prison.
Again, he had a reason to complain. He could have become completely jaded and, in the process, subvert all the teaching that he had proclaimed.
However, he knew that he was on a special mission from the Lord and that Jesus wanted people to know that suffering might be a part of becoming a follower; but, if one endured suffering patiently, one would have the opportunity to gain the prize of everlasting life in Christ Jesus.
How does one do that?
By accepting the strength that comes from God.
That’s right. From God.
We often think that we have to “do it all” on our own. We think that we have to be the ones to see ourselves through hardships, through trials, through persecutions.
Nope. That’s not the case.
We need to turn ourselves over to the Lord. He will take care of all of our needs.
FAITH ACTION: We often get despondent when following the Lord and meeting obstacles. When we do so, we talk negatively and, potentially, turn others off from following the Lord. Have you been down on the faith lately? Do all that you can to speak in an upbeat manner, encouraging others who may be encountering problems to put their trust in the Lord.