It is always an interesting exercise to read about the trials and difficulties of the men and women who gave everything tin order to serve the Gospel. Paul and Silas are flogged for preaching the Gospel in Philippi. Do you think this bothers them much? I am sure that they would not have enjoyed the experience but it did not stop them from sticking to their task of proclaiming the Gospel! I wonder if we have the depth of faith that Paul and Silas had? Are we willing to endure the trials ad difficulties and not just expect good times and blessings as we serve the Church?

Even when they are imprisoned for preaching the Gospel, Paul and his companions continue to praise the Lord, yes, that is right, they are not complaining about their troubles but choosing to give glory and praise to God despite their imprisonment. It would probably do us all good to read stories such as this on a regular basis. Why? Perhaps it will give us greater inspiration to endure the trials and difficulties when they come in our lives. It is this aspect of the Christian life that is often the most difficult to maintain and thus we ought to do everything we can to try and strengthen ourselves in order to face such situations.

It is during our struggles and trials that we probably have the most important opportunity to give witness to the nature and character of the Gospel and those who give their lives in its service. It is at the time of greatest challenge that the true character of the Gospel and the individual has the opportunity to shine. We must ensure that we take such an opportunity if and when it comes our way! Jesus, did not take a backward step in his ministry, neither should we take a backward step!

There are many who have preceded us as disciples of Jesus who have given their lives in order to be faithful to God’s call – they have become martyrs of the faith. Do we have what it takes to follow in their footsteps? Let us pray for the grace to keep faith with them as we follow their example.

What am I willing to give for the sake of the Gospel? Am I willing to give my life in its service?

Jesus, help me to be inspired by the lives of all the men and women who have preceded me. Grant me the grace to never take a backward step.