“Do not be afraid…I am with you.” Ac 18:9-10 NIV
When Paul tried to share his new faith with his old friends, “They opposed him” (v. 6 NKJV). It hurts to be rejected by those you love. It seems like Paul was so hurt by their rejection that God had to encourage him, saying, “Do not be afraid…I am with you, and no one is going to…harm you.” Later when Paul reached out to some of the apostles, they too were leery of him. They saw him as too Jewish to be Christian and too Christian to be Jewish. Throughout his ministry Paul suffered disappointment and rejection at the hands of those he loved. But when people fail you it drives you into the arms of God. Being rejected by others can actually bring a greater intimacy with Him. When they stoned Paul and left him for dead, “he got back up” and went on to greater things (See Ac 14:19-20). Being rejected makes you lean on God like never before, because you’ve nowhere else to turn! In fact, at times like that, unless you hear from God there’s no other word of hope coming! When others reject you, God has a way of opening doors to new levels of blessing you’d otherwise miss. Your greatest spiritual growth will generally result from your greatest trials. The Psalmist wrote: “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies (vindication): thou anointest my head with oil (daily empowerment); my cup runneth over (greater blessing)” (Ps 23:5). The truth is, without some pain and opposition you wouldn’t get to sit at God’s table and enjoy His best.