In today's first reading from Acts 22 and 23, Paul is about to be ripped to shreds during a dispute (that he started) between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Roman commander has to extricate Paul from the dispute lest he be torn apart.
God had a plan for all this. And that night, "the Lord stood by him and said, 'Take courage. For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome." This set Paul off on his final journey that would eventually lead to his death.
"Take courage." Some people think courage is an absence of fear. Not even close. Eddie Rickenbacker, the famous American fighter pilot and race car driver, once said, "Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared." When Jesus said, "Take courage," He wasn't saying don't be afraid. He was saying to do what you must do in spite of your fears. And Paul's trust in Christ allowed him to do just that.
Father, we don't ask you to take away our fear, but to give us the strength and trust to do the right thing even in the face of fear, knowing that you will watch over us. Amen.
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