After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. Then they traveled back through Pisidia to Pamphylia. They preached the word in Perga, then went down to Attalia.
— Acts 14:21-25 NLT
When people talk about my possibly suffering hardship and danger for the sake of the gospel, I have found that their words mean a whole lot more to me if they have suffered themselves. Theoretical suffering is about a person's intentions. When people offer encouragement out of their experience and endurance through suffering and trials, the source of their courage means so much more to those who listen. These believers knew Paul and Barnabas had endured under hardship.* Paul had been left for dead and gotten back up to serve the disciples and continue his ministry. These two messengers from Jesus had authentic lives of courage, perseverance, and commitment to their mission. Their lives propelled their words with the genuineness of faith tried by fire.
O Father, I pray that my faith will be authentic when my time of trial comes. Thank you for these heroes of faith who kept doing what the Spirit led them to do, regardless of opposition. Give our present-day missionaries the wisdom to know when to move to a new place and when to settle in and endure opposition. Most of all, Lord Jesus, pour out your Spirit with power so that all of us will share the message of Jesus with wisdom, courage, and passion. In your name, O Lord, I pray. Amen.