Acts 18:9-18 / John 16:20-23
No one can ever say that they don't have any difficulties and struggles in life. Nor can anyone ever say that they never had any experiences of difficulties and struggles in life.
Of course our natural inclination is to try to avoid difficulties and struggles and we will even pray that God spare us of the hardships of life.
Because what we desire is comfort and pleasure, and that there will be no weeping or sorrow.
But if life is really going to as such, then we will not need the help of God because what would we need His help for?
St. Paul knew what hardship is about. The Lord had said this of him: I myself will show him how much he himself must suffer for my name (Acts 9:16)
In the 1st reading, we heard that the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: Do not be afraid to speak out, nor allow yourself to be silenced. I am with you. I have so many people on my side in this city that no one will even attempt to hurt you.
It could be that Paul was worn out by the challenges and persecutions against him and he was feeling wearied and run down.
But he was rewarded with this vision from the Lord and from it he got the strength and encouragement to carry on the mission of the Lord.
His sorrow had turned to joy. He suffered but now he was strengthened. He only needed to feel that the Lord was with him, and nothing else matters.
So where sufferings abound, let us believe that blessings abound all the more. It is in suffering that the Lord will let us have an experience of His presence. And with that we won't be afraid of difficulties and struggles.