“There they [Paul and Barnabas] strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, ‘It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.’” Acts 14: 22
We have Paul and Barnabas traveling from city to city proclaiming the good news and causing many to become disciples of Jesus Christ, then they returned to Antioch and spoke these words. They wanted the disciples to be strengthened in their souls and to be encouraged in their faith. Think about the times when you have been strengthened and encouraged by people around you, and when you were able to do the same for others.
This has happened many times in my life, and one of the major times was after my late wife’s second surgery to remove a brain tumor. After this operation she couldn’t talk, walk, or move her right side. She spent twelve weeks in two different hospitals and a nursing home recovering from the effects of the procedure, having radiation, and relearning her life functions again.
Needless to say that was a very trying time for my family and me, I was with her every day for some period of the day during that time, and thus grew extremely tired and became emotionally drained. Even though it was very demanding, we were nevertheless strengthened and encouraged by the many people who prayed for us, visited us, called us, sent us cards, gave us meals, and were there to support us and help us in anyway that they could.
That experience certainly changed me and caused me to see so many things in life differently. I know that I am more empathic to others who go through something similar. I will always remember those who aided us and became God’s love for us. Without this love and compassion that time period would have been more challenging and lonely. May you also be like Paul and Barnabas and our friends and family and strengthen the souls of others and offer encouragement in their faith, so that they can feel God’s love through you!
God of all love, please strengthen and encourage me on this spiritual pilgrimage, and in the process allow me to be a support for others whom I meet today! Amen. Vernon T.
Copyright © 2016 Vernon T. Jones, All Rights Reserved