Acts 14 v 21And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”
Paul had just seen the power of God demonstrated so powerfully that people wanted to worship him. But things quickly changed. Those same people who wanted to worship him were quickly persuaded that Paul was a bad man and they stoned him and threw his body outside the city. He has now moved on and is doing a leaders meeting. It is interesting to see what Paul thought was important. He wanted to strengthen them. The soul is defined as the mind, will and emotions of a person. It is mostly in this area that believers are weakened by hard times. It’s our soul, it’s our resolve, our fight that is weakened. Paul knew it. He could see that people were fading over time in a world that was persecuting them. They sought the comfortable. They were wishing for peace. Paul exhorted their faith telling them that God was greater than anything they faced. He demonstrated to them that much in the Kingdom is gained through tribulation.
Often it’s tribulation that sends someone to God. I need Him so I run to Him. It’s in that place of vulnerability He shows me things about the situation and about myself. It’s there that my soul is strengthened. Unfortunately it’s also at these times that I may not feel like going to God. My faith can be challenged and I feel that somehow God is unfair with me or not there for me and a number of things come up in my soul that weaken my faith. It’s when we feel like giving up. But this is the time we must be reminded that Jesus himself suffered and that suffering is part of the Christian experience. It all works to our good.
Much Love and Blessings
Ps Mark and Nina