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."
The events in which Paul now finds himself are not easy circumstances to endure. He is now in the custody of the Roman army. It has come to his knowledge that a band of forty co-conspirators have a plot in place to ambush him while in custody and kill him. The Jewish religious leaders have evidently approved of this action because Paul is such a threat to their power base. But God is still sovereign.
By encouraging Paul with these words, God is confirming that an ambition of Paul's will be honored. Paul has already announced his plan to take a future missions trip to Rome (Acts 19:21). This is the means that God will use to get him there.
Paul had endured plots from the Jews before (Acts 20:3). God had protected him in prison before. This present experience was just a magnified version of what God had already taken him through. Paul was probably as prepared as anyone could be to cope with both Roman imprisonment as well as death threats from his enemies. What he got from God at this moment of trial was confirmation that his ministry dream would be brought to reality by God. God would take him through Jerusalem to Rome.
Trials can be the road to usefulness. If we will let them be used by God in this way. Now if Paul had asserted his wounded pride or selfishly reacted against all the hardship, he might never have known God's comfort and encouragement. Because he was willing to endure anything for the sake of the advance of the gospel, God led him through these times to the very throne room of the emperor. There is still a long and danger-filled journey again, but Paul is now assured that God is guiding him on this bumpy road. And the same God rules our lives today.
- Posted with my iPad. The Apple Kool-Aide tastes fine.