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Acts 18:9-18

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.” He stayed there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal. They said, “This man is persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to the law.” Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of crime or serious villainy, I would be justified in accepting the complaint of you Jews; but since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves; I do not wish to be a judge of these matters.” And he dismissed them from the tribunal. Then all of them seized Sosthenes, the official of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of these things.

After staying there for a considerable time, Paul said farewell to the believers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut, for he was under a vow.

Psalm 47:1-6

Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy. For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome, a great king over all the earth. He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet. He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves.

God has gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.

John 16:20-23

Jesus said to his disciples:

Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.

(NRSVCE) Meditation

We are at odds living in this world as Christians who have joy for completely different reasons than non-Christians. When others have joy for worldly success, we look to see what is behind it. No matter how successful a person is in this life, we grieve if they are not saved. We grieve when they influence others away from God. We grieve when we see sin harming people and when hearts remain obstinate.

We look for the coming of the Kingdom of God and yearn for it. We seek comfort and strength in our weakness and surrender to God’s timing and holy will. We rejoice when we are persecuted. We grieve times of desolation and when our faith is tested. But we do know that it is accomplishing something wonderful in our souls. We are not in control. But we know that this life is not the end for us. We know that the Lord is coming for his bride and we are being prepared.

Though we have friction with this world, we can look for protection from the Lord. He is accompanying us and sustaining us on the mission he has entrusted to us. His divine purpose for us will see us through until we have given birth to the new creation in him.

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