But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.” (Acts 23:11)
Paul risked his life telling the Jerusalem Jews about Jesus. The revival he had hoped for turned into a riot. I can imagine Paul’s mind looped into different scenarios of what he could’ve done differently so his brethren would believe Jesus was the Messiah and have a personal relationship with him.
He did not yet understand God’s plan for the Jews. His concern and question were, “Did they (the Jews) stumble so as to fall beyond recovery?” The Lord stood by him and answered his question. Paul gives the answer in Romans 11. “Not at all!…salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious…if their rejection (of Jesus) brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?…Some of the branches have been broken off, and you (the Gentiles)…have been grafted in…they were broken off because of unbelief…And if they do not persist in unbelief…God is able to graft them in again…I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery…Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of Gentiles has come in, and in this way, all Israel will be saved.”
Paul died understanding the mystery that all of Israel will receive life from the dead. I believe this means they will be grafted back into the tree of life when they meet Jesus at their judgment and realize He is the Messiah.
In Paul’s hours of gloom when he blames himself for not conveying to the Jews that Jesus is their savior, Jesus stands by him and lets him know that He will not use humans to save the Jews. He will save them himself. It was His will for Paul to help save the Romans.
In our hours of gloom, Jesus will stand by us also. If you’re blaming yourself for something, tell Him. He will let you know that he has fixed it or has a plan to fix it as he did for Paul. Even if our despair concerns someone who has died as many of Paul’s brethren had, Jesus can reach them, give them a message, and fix the situation because there is life after death. Like Paul, when we go through hard times it may be because we don’t understand God’s plan. Ask Him for clarification.
It is only when you believe Jesus will stand by you and save you in any situation that you can be of good cheer.
Father God, I praise you for Jesus’ resurrection. Because he lives, I also will live. Jesus, I blame myself for _______. Help me remedy this situation. If I can’t fix it, I have faith You will. Tell me Your plan, as you did for Paul, so I can be of good cheer.