Posted by: ritagone | October 10, 2018

A Guest Blogger

Here’s a blog from one of my favorite bloggers, Amy Downing. I think you’ll all enjoy what she writes in place of my writing this week.

A Letter for the Greatest Letter Writer Ever

I believe that as we learn and grow in different areas, it is helpful to express our thoughts in a creative way to help us process. It doesn’t matter if you are studying science, grammar, or some sort of religion. Draw a picture of what you are studying, write a poem, photograph a story of pictures. Inevitably, it will give you a new perspective on the information. I’ve been studying a series of letters in the New Testament, written by a guy named Paul (or Saul depending when you knew him). I believe I will meet him one day, but until then, I decided to write him a letter . . . .

October 4, 2018

Hey Paul.

You scare me. I have to say that up front because I know everyone is thinking it. You are so, so INTENSE. Like when you talk, you must wave your hands a lot and your voice gets loud and you probably spit a little when you emphasize certain words. And that’s when you are feeling joyful.

I marvel at how you were raised to head down one very distinct path—everything you learned was to fight for the cause, to take down that new religion of following Jesus. And yet, yet . . . Paul! You figured It out. (Granted you had quite a bit of help from the blinding light, which caused you to lose your sight for three days. Yes, I think that could snap even the hardest hard-hearted people into seeing Truth.)

But I marvel even more at your perseverance through the crap after you “saw the light” so to speak—the beatings, the prison terms, the shipwrecks, the thorn in your side (you’ve caused quite a stir with that one), the snake bites . . . the loneliness, the rejection.

I ask how you managed it and in the very same breath I know exactly how you managed it. You tell us in your letter to the Philippians: “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

You were able to forget what was behind you? You make it sound so simple. It must have been easier back in your time when there wasn’t so much pain in the world.

But your life did carry pain, a lot of it, I know.

And you pressed ON. Paul, thanks for pressing on. Because you had a choice—when you were in chains, you literally sang songs of praise. When you were imprisoned, you wrote letters of encouragement to the early churches.

You strained forward to what was ahead—and that was Jesus. Thank you. Thank you for not giving up, so that we today have a real chance to not give up, too.

Grace and Peace, brother.

 

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