I've read and heard the story of Paul and Barnabas and their missionary journey all my life, but not until recently have I begun to understand the impact these two followers of Christ had on our world even today. Because they followed Christ, even in the difficult times, many people who would not have heard the gospel were able to hear it up close and personal.
In the days of Paul and Barnabas, they had no cars, trains, buses, or planes to travel in. They had to travel on foot, and if you've ever taken a look at the map of where they went, it wasn't just a walk in the park. They had to climb and hike in dangerous areas just to get to some people groups. What made it worse was that many of the people groups rejected them once they got to them, and the rejections were not usually just verbal, either. They were beaten, stoned, stripped of their clothes, and much more. I dare say most of us would have given up and gone back home.
However, Paul and Barnabas kept going on with the gospel of Jesus.
There was one town they went to called Derbe. God really showed out here. No one rejected the gospel or the men who preached it. In fact, the people of Derbe welcomed them with open arms. This gave Paul and Barnabas the courage they needed to keep going.
My life has been a lot like Paul and Barnabas's lately. No, I haven't necessarily been out on a missionary journey, but I have been on a journey of sorts, and it seems like I have been beaten down in many different directions, no matter what I do. For me, though, the last few days have been Derbe days- days of peace, rest, and acceptance, and I have welcomed them with open arms. It has given me the courage I need to move forward, and hopefully I will move forward refreshed and with a better outlook on things. After all, God is in control of all things.