1 Corinthians 16:8-9 But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.
One thing Paul was not was a wimp. He didn’t know what it was to turn tail and run. Sadly, that attitude doesn’t seem to be very common in the Church today. That’s hardly surprising when we have “evangelistic” campaigns on themes like, “Your Best Life Now.” In contrast, Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24) The rewards are more than worth it, but nowhere did Jesus promise “Easy Street.” If we try to demand victory without conflict we discover soon enough that is a contradiction in terms. When a door for ministry was opened for Paul in Ephesus, the last thing he expected was smooth sailing. American Christians have had it a little too easy the past couple of hundred years, but the climate is changing. I personally think this is God’s grace, because an untested faith is weak at best, and God seeks children who will truly seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)
I’m a fine one to talk about Christians having it too easy, because I have experienced little focused opposition. That said, the devil is not happy that I’m here, seeking to bring people into God’s family, but I haven’t had people specifically trying to undermine what I am doing. Right now the devil is attacking my body with fever and other things, but I should take that as a matter of course. The vast majority of the health-related attacks we’ve experienced over the past 34 years of ministry in Omura have been against Cathy’s body. I don’t have any room to complain about this training exercise the Lord is letting me have.
Father, as I was experiencing the chills and aches and all that in the night and this morning, I was very aware that Cathy has it worse than that almost every day. I pray that this reminder would help me be more empathetic toward her, as a channel of Your grace and blessing to her, for her healing and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!