Hard to imagine the apostle Paul being afraid, but one night God took the time to come to him, through a vision, and encourage him not to be afraid. He had just had an altercation with the Jewish people and had declared that he was leaving them and going to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. There must have been something there that we are kept from because God had to take the time to build up Paul and ensure that he stayed right where he was and continue to do the mission he was called to do. Fear is not a stranger to any of us. Our encouragement has to be that we all fear, even Paul, and let’s continue to reach out to those who have never heard of God’s message of hope and redemption, confident that we walk with God as we do.
It does not mean we have to go on a conversion quest – but it does matter that we firm up our understanding of what our mission is and that we are doing it at the best of our ability, trusting God to move through us as we do. It is scary to tell a co-worker about Jesus, we will face persecution of all kinds, people will not like us or accept us — but all that is OK when we are reminded that God knows what we are facing. He also happens to know the heart of the person we are sharing the gospel with. Regardless of their motives – God will come to us and encourage us through it all. We can hope in Him as we give knowing full well that we will be re-energized and refreshed.
One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city who are my people.” – Acts 18:9-10