Scripture — 2 Corinthians 11:23-33
“Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;” (2 Corinthians 11:25-26)
On September 2, 2015, news outlets around the world reported a horrible tragedy: the body of three-year-old Alan Kurdi had washed up on a beach near Bodrum, Turkey. Alan’s family of Syrian refugees were trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to a Greek island when their inflatable boat capsized. This tragedy testified to the refugees’ desperation: they chose to risk the harsh sea in a raft to escape the threats of terrorists in their homeland.
The accident also reminds us of the long history of shipwrecks in that area.
The Mediterranean Sea was a key part of the Apostle Paul’s missionary travels. He tells of being shipwrecked three times and being stranded on the open sea. In Paul’s work of spreading the Good News of Jesus, he was also sometimes beaten, pelted with stones, and thrown into prison. That happened because people in some places were hostile to the Message of Christ. In addition, there were false teachers who twisted the message of Jesus for their own profit, fame, and power. Sadly, false and corrupt leaders are still doing similar things today.
As Paul (and Jesus) explained, challenges and dangers often go with sharing the good News because the devil is opposed to it. Satan doesn’t want anyone to be saved. But in God’s strength, the good news of Jesus keeps spreading. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. It’s only to strengthen us and make us useful like Paul was useful to God. He was thrown in jail, in a solitary dungeon, but God sent an earthquake to get him out and for others to be saved.
Will you help to share The Good News of Jesus too?
Prayer: Lord, guide us to share Your Good News everywhere, and help us to deal faithfully with challenges that arise. Amen.