The Difficulties Of Spiritual Growth

Friday of Week 6 in Eastertide

Acts. 18:9-18 & Jn. 16:20-23

The disciples were clearly forewarned of the sufferings they were to face. They could expect no better treatment than Jesus had received at the hands of the world. Those who had persecuted the Son of God would not hesitate to do the same to His disciples. Mourning and suffering were coming, and they might as well get ready for them. But He also promised that their grief would only last for a time and then they would rejoice. He compared their situation to a woman expecting a baby, who suffers unspeakable pain in giving birth but when the child is born she no longer remembers it.

Jesus' words must have been a great comfort to Paul who, during his time in Corinth, faced hostility and accusations. He must have wondered whether his efforts were worthwhile but persevered because Jesus had told him in a vision not to be deterred by any opposition.

As Christ's followers today, we should be prepared to suffer if we are to grow spiritually. The Christian faith does not insulate us from the risks and duties of living in a dangerous and imperfect world. We are just as likely to be struck by disease or felled by an accident as those without faith. Mourning and suffering are no strangers to the life of faith but they will not last forever.

Lord Jesus, You promised to come back and fill our hearts with joy, a joy that no one shall take from us. We believe that the words You said to Your apostle Paul You will say to us, "Do not be afraid, I am with you."