rocky roads and happy endings
"The congregations grew stronger in faith and daily increased in numbers." —Acts 16:5
The very first missionary journey was rocky. It included Elymas being struck blind (Acts 13:11), John Mark quitting (Acts 13:13), and Paul being stoned and dragged from Lystra and left for dead (Acts 14:19). The missionary journey ended successfully in that Paul and Barnabas converted the governor of Cyprus (Acts 13:12) and started four churches (Acts 14:23).
The second missionary journey also had problems. Paul and Barnabas had an argument on whether to take John Mark on the mission. "The disagreement which ensued was so sharp that the two separated. Barnabas took Mark along with him and sailed for Cyprus. Paul, for his part, chose Silas to accompany him on his journey" (Acts 15:39-40). Paul and Silas' mission bogged down when the Holy Spirit prevented them "from preaching the message in the province of Asia" (Acts 16:6). The Spirit also did not allow them to go into Bithynia (Acts 16:7).
Eventually Paul had a vision leading him to Macedonia. Here Lydia was converted (Acts 16:14), a girl was freed from the devil (Acts 16:18), and Paul and Silas were attacked, stripped, flogged, imprisoned, and chained (Acts 16:22-24). However, Paul and Silas prayed and praised up an earthquake (Acts 16:25-26). They even converted the jailer and his family (Acts 16:33).
When we serve God, "we must undergo many trials" (Acts 14:22; Sir 2:1), but we will succeed in furthering God's kingdom.
Prayer: Father, like a grain of wheat, may I fall to the earth and die so as to bear much fruit (Jn 12:24).
Promise: "If you find that the world hates you, know it has hated Me before you." —Jn 15:18
Praise: When Carol and her husband devoted themselves to sharing with other couples the Church's teachings on contraception, she finally conceived.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet Spiritual Warfare or our audio tape AV 57-3 or video V-57.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 3, 2008
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