In Lystra, on the first missionary journey, Paul was pounded and pummeled with rocks until the angry mob was sure he was dead (Acts 14:6-20). Maybe he was.
In Philippi, on the second missionary journey, Paul and Silas were “seized” and violently “dragged into the marketplace to the authorities … The crowd joined in the attack against them, and the chief magistrates stripped off their clothes and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After they had severely flogged them, they threw them in jail, ordering the jailer to guard them carefully”(Acts 16:20–23).
A few weeks later in Thessalonica, “the Jews became jealous, and they brought together some wicked men from the marketplace, formed a mob, and started a riot in the city” (Acts 17:5). When darkness fell upon the city, kind Christian “brothers and sisters sent Paul and Silas away to Berea” (Acts 17:10).
At the end of his third missionary journey, Paul remembered the abuse he had endured. “Five times I received the forty lashes minus one from the Jews. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning” (2 Corinthians 11:24–25).
While at Corinth, near the conclusion of his second missionary journey, “the Lord said to Paul in a night vision, ‘Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent. For I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to hurt you, because I have many people in this city’ ” (Acts 18:9–10). Those were comforting words. “Don’t be afraid …. I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to hurt you.”
God has given us many comforting promises.
Is the evil enemy crushing you with troublesome temptations? God’s Spirit gently reassures us … “No temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Is there an impossible situation around the corner? “My God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
Afraid? Anxious? Worried? “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment” (2 Timothy 1:7).“Little children, you have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37–39).
Do you feel lonely? “The Lord is the one who will go before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8). “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Paul didn’t need to worry while he was teaching and preaching in Corinth. God made a promise! “Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent. For I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to hurt you” (Acts 18:9-10).