TITLE: Paul's Joy
By Sherry Hoffcastel
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Your weathered hands have seen so much pain in life. Youíve been shipwrecked, beaten, flogged, and hated, left alone to die. So forgive me but I need to ask- itís something Iíve not seen before. How is it that you have such joy with feet shackled to the floor?
Your letters drip like honey and a little lemon too. Sweet enough to feel His love but not so much that weíll not hear your message through. Strong warnings echo through a heart thatís grieved unlike most men. It wasnít all that long ago that your cursed the whole lot of them.
In your world Christians were a nuisance, a blithering bunch of freaks. Yet here you are in this filthy place, praising God right next to me! What a paradox you are, my friend. I just donít understand. What keeps your spirit soaring high? What makes you hang on until the end?
Despair is not in your vocabulary, nor jealousy or rage. Despite the many injustices you still wear a smile upon your face. So tell me, mighty warrior whatís a guy like me to do? How exactly do I come to the place where Iím at peace like you?
Praising God in prison! Whoíd have heard of such a thing? If I didnít see with my own eyes I would never have believed.
Believe, you say? Oh really! Thatís all I have to do? Ask Jesus to come into my heart? And then Iíll look like you? What if he wonít have me? You donít know the things Iíve done. Well, when you put it that way, I guess Iím not the only one.
Ok, then Iíll do it. Iíll ask Jesus and receive. But just in case I need some help, would you put in a good word for me? Youíre a mystery that I donít think Iíll ever understand. Killing innocent people, then saving them with the same hand.
I donít know why God put me here to talk with you today. But I know the joy he put inside you. Theyíll never take that away. And even more amazing, that same joy is free. Anyone can have it. Just ask, receive, believe.
Dear friend, thank you for your time. I already feel brand new. So this must be what it feels like to look and think like you. Praise God for tiny blessings. Simply wondrous, I must say. Iím grateful that those weathered hands didnít turn me away.
Paul, your joy is such a mystery but now that I understand Iíll walk within the will of God and obey every command.
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