Resilient. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think of the apostle Paul. True, many other words capture what we know of him: passionate, outspoken, fearless, tireless, and authentic. But to me, resilient best describes Paul’s life and ministry.
In today’s verses, Paul is still in Corinth, living with Aquila and Priscilla and venturing to the local synagogue to tell the Jews there about Jesus. When they oppose and revile his message, Paul declares his intent to make the Gentiles his new audience.
He leaves the synagogue and sets up shop in a house right next door. One night he receives a vision that tells him not to be afraid, and he settles into his new ministry to the Gentiles. Luke reports that he stays in Corinth for eighteen months.
That’s typical Paul. Shut one door in his face, and he’ll find another one. Toss him out of the synagogue, and he’ll start teaching in the house next door. Resilient might as well be his middle name.
When our children were small, they had a favorite toy that they played with constantly. The child-sized clown was weighted at the bottom, so no matter how many times they pummeled him, the clown always bounced back up, his smile still firmly in place. They couldn’t keep him down.
That’s the way it was with Paul. He once said that he could do all things through Christ who gives him strength. His resilient life proved that his statement was more than mere words.
What issue that I’m facing right now makes me want to quit? How can I find the resilience to persevere?
God, today I claim the promise that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Amen.