But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
The accomplishments of Paul rock the very foundation of what we know to be humanly possible. This man wrote most of the New Testament. He took the gospel to the very outskirts of the world. He was what I consider to be one of the greatest missionaries and proclaimers of the Word to ever live.
Seldom do we make reference to his suffering. Most often when we do we use it to talk about how we are to get through our own trials, or how God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. These are all valuable but I feel we miss a crucial point.
Paul’s accomplishments and his suffering go together.
It’s not that God did not love Paul. I don’t believe he wasn’t punishing him because he once killed Christians. It’s not that God was giving him a taste of his own medicine. I believe it’s because if Paul was to be used in a mighty way he had to be wounded deeply.
Lets be honest. The greater the calling, the greater the cost. Sometimes making a difference in the world requires from us great suffering.
It was true for Paul and it may be true for you as well.
I’m not saying that you are going to get flogged like Paul did. I am saying that too many people want to accomplish the things that Paul did without going through what he went through. Life just doesn’t work like that.
To be used at the level Paul was it might require you to be bruised. This will make you sensitive to His touch so you don’t rely on yourself, so you can relate to those who are hurting, so you have a change to shine for Him in your darkest hour.
To truly be used by God:
You might grow weary.
You might be mistreated.
You might suffer for His sake.
In the words of Paul: “For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body” (2 Corinthians 4:11).
But hold fast because, “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).