I wish God would have put Paul’s struggles, his mental and emotional ones in the Bible for us. Particularly the ones where he really doubted the wisdom of what he was doing. I don’t intend to be blasphemous here, not one bit so please do not misunderstand me.
Paul was human, he was a normal man like you and I. He was indwelt by the Spirit like you and I and he had strengths and weaknesses like you and I. He did not sign up to be a superhero and I seriously doubt he ever realized the depths his posthumous fame would reach!
He led a very hard life after meeting Jesus Christ. He details some of his struggles and sufferings in the book of Acts, and in his epistles.
23…in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. 2 Corinthians 11:23-28
22The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. 23When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; 24and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. Acts 16:22-24
8For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; 9indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; 2 Corinthians 1:8-9
14Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 2 Timothy 4:14
So I wish God would have put Paul’s thoughts in the Bible like He did David’s. The Psalms are full of David’s lamenting about his circumstances…but not Paul’s.
I believe this was intentional. All we read about with only a few exceptions is the overcoming that Paul did. He met the challenge, overcame, and adapted to the new “normal”, whatever that was. I desire to be that flexible and loose in the hands of the Master Potter. I wish I would not care at all about the things of this world, but my flesh is still too strong.
I wish I could have the same kinds of responses to the trials and problems of life, that in spite of them I would press on seemingly mindless of them.
Paul came to that place only over time, he must have! To begin so prosperous and respected by the Jews and to descend to being hated and abused in the ways he was- it had to be a major adjustment in his thinking. He suffered a terrible human cost, and he considered it all “nothing”
8More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:8-11
I am not there yet.
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