". . . that I might finish the course with joy, . . ." Acts 20:24
Christianity is not the easiest way to live. The apostle Paul was always on a hard road beset on every side confronted by thousands of antagonisms. Paul’s road was a red road. As we follow him from place to place, we are guided by the crimson marks of pain and sacrifice. He was assaulted at Iconium, stoned at Lystra, beaten and imprisoned at Philippi, often in chains, hungry and thirsty. The road to Rome was paved with red dashes of suffering.
And to add to the wonder of his remarkable journey, we are told that this oppressed apostle of the Lord was heavily weighed by physical infirmity. He himself calls it a thorn in the flesh, a deep root of constant pain. At another, he calls himself an earthen vessel, easily chipped and broken. Again, he says he's like a light tent, fragile, even the slightest wind could carry it away.
Yet this sick man so afflicted, so exposed, trudged about for a generation as an ambassador of grace. And now at the beginning of a second generation he's still on the same red road, driven by the Spirit, wrapped by dauntless courage, knowing nothing of the things yet to come, except that the Holy Spirit was with him. He soldiers on for what awaits him. The red road of painful sacrifice was to be his to the very end.
The secret to Paul's perseverance was no secret. It's available to all who follow Jesus.
He had (energizing salvation) the saving life of Christ and transformed his entire life. On that red road, he had been apprehended by Christ. (endless spirit) Paul was always trying to give away what the Lord had given him. The more he gave away, the more he discovered he had to give away, until he was overwhelmed with the glory of God. (engaging service) He went anywhere and everywhere crossing mountains, plains, seas, everywhere he could, to testify of the grace of God.
Thank Him for the things He's brought you through.