TITLE: Paul's Joy
By Sherry Hoffcastel
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Your weathered hands have seen so much pain in life. You’ve been shipwrecked, beaten, flogged, and hated, left alone to die. So forgive me but I need to ask- it’s something I’ve 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 we’ll not hear your message through. Strong warnings echo through a heart that’s grieved unlike most men. It wasn’t 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 don’t 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 what’s a guy like me to do? How exactly do I come to the place where I’m at peace like you?
Praising God in prison! Who’d have heard of such a thing? If I didn’t see with my own eyes I would never have believed.
Believe, you say? Oh really! That’s all I have to do? Ask Jesus to come into my heart? And then I’ll look like you? What if he won’t have me? You don’t know the things I’ve done. Well, when you put it that way, I guess I’m not the only one.
Ok, then I’ll do it. I’ll ask Jesus and receive. But just in case I need some help, would you put in a good word for me? You’re a mystery that I don’t think I’ll ever understand. Killing innocent people, then saving them with the same hand.
I don’t know why God put me here to talk with you today. But I know the joy he put inside you. They’ll 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. I’m grateful that those weathered hands didn’t turn me away.
Paul, your joy is such a mystery but now that I understand I’ll walk within the will of God and obey every command.
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