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In Long and Lonely Nights

Daily ReadingActs 23

 

The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.” (Acts 23.11)

 

Devotional Thought: In Acts 23, we find Paul on trial before the Sanhedrin, under the watchful eye of the Roman commander.  The emotions surrounding Paul and his message were so heated, that “the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them.”  So, he reclaimed Paul and re-imprisoned him in the barracks.  Can you imagine how Paul felt?  He had been fiercely hated, cruelly beaten, falsely accused, unfairly detained, doubtfully embraced, and vehemently rejected.  All because he was trying to do the right thing.  What was happening?

 

Paul loved his countrymen.  He wanted them to discover and experience what he had in Jesus.  Paul loved his Jewish heritage.  He wanted his “brothers” to know the freedom he knew in Christ as the fulfillment of the Law.  Yet, those he sought to serve turned on him.  I don’t have to imagine what it felt like.  I’ve experienced similar things myself.  And I know that you probably have too. 

 

It is in situations like this that the nights become long and lonely.  But – thanks be to God – the Lord stood near!  Jesus arrived on the scene in that prison cell and encouraged Paul.  Christ affirmed Paul’s dream of going to Rome to testify!

 

Are you in a time like this?  Are you experiencing a “dark night of the soul”?  Take courage my friend!  The Lord stands near!  Listen to his quiet voice in the long and lonely night.  He will dispel your fears, your burdens and your misgivings.  With Christ standing at your side, you will get through one “night” at a time!  Other long nights may be ahead (Paul experienced one the very next night as he travelled to Caesarea…), but for tonight, for today, rest in his presence!

 

Prayer: Jesus, you are a friend that sticks closer than a brother.  When the night is long and the storm is strong, help me to trust in you, in your nearness.  You have said you will be with me always.  I receive your presence.  Amen.

 

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 77:1-9

1 I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me.

2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.

3 When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah

4 You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.

5 I consider the days of old, the years long ago.

6 I said,"Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart." Then my spirit made a diligent search:

7 "Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?

8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time?

9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?" Selah

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