(Acts 23:11) But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”
Do you ever feel like your best isn’t good enough? You’ve tried, and you’ve done your very best but to no avail? You’ve gone the extra mile or twenty-two but end up with only blisters to show for it? Sounds like you need some encouragement from God’s Word!
Paul had tried his very best and he had failed miserably. He had waited for years to be able to share Christ with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. He had been away in far off lands leading Gentiles to the Lord. But now he was back in Jerusalem, the city of the great King. He had an offering to present to the Jewish believers taken from the Gentile churches. Paul was encouraged by the leadership of the Jerusalem church to sponsor some men in their sacrifices in the Temple. But everything went wrong. Some of these worshippers were mistaken for Greeks and a riot broke out. Paul was almost beaten to death but was rescued by Roman soldiers who whisked him away to the barracks.
Paul seized the opportunity while on the steps to ask if he could address the hostile crowd. He was allowed and then proceeded to speak in Hebrew. The crowd was hushed, and Paul shared his testimony. But when he mentioned how he was called to the Gentiles they were provoked, and Paul had to be ushered into the barracks quickly. But at least he got a word about the gospel in! The next day the chief priests and the Jewish Sanhedrin were commanded to appear. This was the opportunity he had dreamed about. He loved his people and his country and now he had the council’s attention. But it wasn’t long before the group was divided over what Paul was saying and they about pulled him apart. He had to be rescued and brought back into the barracks again.
This was probably the lowest point in Paul’s life. He had the Jewish leaders in the palms of his hands, but everything went wrong. What he had worked so hard for had failed. His best wasn’t good enough and he sunk into an all-time low. But in the midst of this dismal despair the voice of the Lord was assuring him. He was told to cheer up because God had a greater plan than Paul knew. The Lord was taking him to Rome. And sure enough Paul was able to share Christ all the way there and even stood before Cesar himself to testify.
Do you see the picture? What we think is a failure is really the back door to success. We think life is going to be a certain way and when that doesn’t happen we get so upset. But the Lord says to be of good cheer because He has a plan beyond belief. You don’t have to work so hard trying to keep things together. That’s the Lord’s job! Do your best but then commit the rest. Jesus takes care of the rest. And that will certainly be good enough.