We see in Acts today the further adventures of Paul and Barnabas. These guys never had a dull moment! They went around to the different cities saying, “It is necessary to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” In the Gospel reading, we hear Jesus saying, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.”
It may seem that those two things, hardship and peace, are mutually exclusive. During times of hardship, we seem to have little peace. And when we feel at peace, we’re not undergoing hardship. But does it have to be that way? Can we feel peace in the midst of hardship?
I think you know the answer to that. Maybe if we remember Paul and Barnabas’ exhortation, it is NECESSARY to undergo hardship, we will find a bit more peace in times of trouble. Think of it this way…every time we go through another hardship, we’re one step closer to the Kingdom. And isn’t that what we’re shooting for? Yeah! Maybe that could bring some peace into our hearts.
Father, we thank you for those times of hardship. Help us to not only accept them, but embrace them as part of our “entrance exam” for heaven. Amen.