Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
(Acts 14:19-28; John 14:27-31a)
Abraham Lincoln steered the United States through its most perilous moment. He is often considered strong as a bull and clear-sighted as an eagle. In truth he suffered from severe depression that made him consider suicide. But he refused to allow himself that way out. He rebounded from his melancholy to think himself through personal difficulties by giving attention to the great challenge of his time. In the first reading today we see Paul responding to a crisis with similar resiliency.
Paul deeply wants his fellow Jews to believe in Jesus. He knows that they will find salvation only through him. He preaches Jesus’ lordship in the synagogues of Asia Minor, but the proclamation is continually rejected. In today’s reading from Acts he is beaten and left for dead by his compatriots. But Paul rises from the setback to redirect his message. If he cannot convince the Jews of Jesus, he surmises that the pagans may heed him. The beating even becomes a stimulus to work harder among a different group of people.
We too may feel defeated at times. Perhaps our friends don’t believe in Jesus or are at best lukewarm about their faith. Still to us Jesus not only is our destiny but our means to attain it. We must not lose heart. Rather we will find in Jesus the wisdom to overcome life’s challenges. We should also meet others with similar convictions to support us along the way.