We’ve all been there. In our life we’ve gotten to the point of utter frustration, to the point we end up throwing a kid sized temper tantrum. Don’t underestimate a “kid sized” temper tantrum! These suckers can last for hours, and can even utilize every room in the house!
I can remember the day like it was yesterday… My friends and I would play hockey almost everyday at the bottom of my street. It made a great place to play considering it was a dead-end. On this particular day I wasn’t having the best of days, in fact, I almost didn’t even want to play, which would have been very rare for me. So in the midst of having a bad day, and getting picked on by one of my friend’s older brothers, I exploded! I started swinging my stick violently at Kevin and throwing all my equipment on the ground. As a last ditch effort to make my point, I took MY net, since it was MINE (can you hear it?) and took it home, stopping the game all together.
I was tired. I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to see my friends. I thought for sure Kevin was going to beat me up the next time I saw him. It was a bad day… “Bad day’s come, and bad day’s go.” This was the advice from my dad, who tried to figure out what I was so upset about. I can always remember in those moments my dad coming around me, putting his arm over my shoulder and just telling me, “It’s okay, we all have bad days, you’re going to be alright.”
Paul’s Having a Bad Day
When we meet up with Paul in Acts 18 we find him in the City of Corinth. You need to know that Corinth was a really tough place to do ministry. It would have been like trying to convince people they need Jesus on the Vegas Strip. [SIDE NOTE: If you want to know more about the City of Corinth, just read Romans 1:24-32] At Corinth, Paul found himself fighting two different battles. The battle for the city, and the battle he was facing in his own life. Paul was discouraged. He was tired, weary, and some commentators would indicate, depressed. Ministry was getting harder and harder and he probably wasn’t taking care of himself either.
If you think about it, it wasn’t long before Paul arrived at Corinth that Paul and Barnabas separated their ministries over a disagreement concerning John Mark.
Now that we have a little better perspective on Paul’s condition, let’s read Acts 18:5-6:
Acts 18:5-6 (NLT) 5 And after Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul spent all his time preaching the word. He testified to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. 6 But when they opposed and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his clothes and said, “Your blood is upon your own heads—I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles.”
Boy, sounds like he’s taking his ball and going home doesn’t it? Well, do you blame him? Even after Luke’s affirming words to Paul’s ministry in Corinth (v.7-8), Paul is still feeling discouraged, beat up, lonely, and needing a “win one for the Gipper,” speech.
Paul’s Dad Puts His Arm Around Him
One of things you will see in your reading of Acts, especially when you get to Acts 20-27, is God’s encouragement of Paul to keep going. Acts 23:11 and Acts 27:23 are just two examples. The reference here in Acts 18:9-10 is no different then all the other times God encourages Paul.
Acts 18:9-10 (NLT) 9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! 10 For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me.”
In this powerful moment of reminder for Paul, Jesus places his arm around him and says,”It’s okay, we all have bad days, you’re going to be okay.” And not only that, but the language used for, “I am with you,” is personal. Meaning, the Lord is telling Paul that He’s personally going to be with him!
I don’t know where you’re at today. I don’t know what you’re experiencing. Maybe you just want to take your ball and go home. Whatever the case may be, please know that your Abba Father wants to put His arm around you and communicate, “I am with you.”