Day 29

Paul’s Second Missionary Journey Ends

from the Acts of the Apostles reading plan


Acts 18:1-28, James 4:13-15, Isaiah 51:1-2

BY Missy Fuller

Text: Acts 18:1-28, James 4:13-15, Isaiah 51:1-2

“There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

They were lying. I had plenty to be afraid of.

I had just climbed up a steep lakeside embankment with nothing more than a swimsuit, Chaco sandals, and the intent of jumping off a 50-foot cliff into the water. My brother and his best friend were doing all they could to convince me everything would be fine, that there was nothing to fear.

What if I slip as I’m jumping and hit my head?
What if I hit the water at a bad angle?
What if this water isn’t as deep as we think it is?
What if I land on a floating tree branch?

Fear. It’s a big deal. It can keep us from doing things we’d really like to do. It can also keep us from doing exactly what God has asked of us. It can even cause us to live our lives in ways that leave us no room for faith; we become so seemingly independent that we begin to believe we don’t need God or anyone else.

I don’t know if you’re like me and have every “Do not fear” in the entire Bible circled, underlined, and highlighted. It makes sense to see it in the Old Testament, when the heroes of Israel are heading into battle. But Paul? Is this the same Paul who had already faced oppression, persecution, and imprisonment for the gospel? That Paul was afraid?

Then the Lord said to Paul in a night vision, “Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent. For I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to hurt you, because I have many people in this city.”
-Acts 18:9-10

Do not be afraid. The Greek phrase used in verse 9 means “you must not be afraid any longer.” Literally, stop being afraid!

This is confirmation that yes, Paul was, in fact, already afraid. The text doesn’t give us much more context for Paul’s fear. Was his fear the “thorn in his flesh” that would always plague him (2 Corinthians 12)? Was this a one-time situation where he was especially afraid? The Jews had opposed him and abused him before, but that can’t be something one gets used to.

Regardless of the details, we can be sure of one thing: Paul was afraid and God commanded him to not be afraid any longer.

Like Paul, I’ve faced some crippling fears (yes, even more terrifying than that time I jumped off a cliff). God has called me to things and I’ve stood frozen, still paralyzed by a fear of failure or defeat. Instead of embracing the strength and victory He promises (1 Corinthians 15:57), I’ve let fear dictate what I believe and what I do.

Even in the most intimidating situations, God is faithful. He gave Paul the assurance that He would protect him. Just look at how perfectly God provided for Paul:

He brought him fellowship and friendship with Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:18).
He provided for his physical needs, allowing him to continue working as a tentmaker (v. 3).
He allowed him to spread the gospel in Corinth for another year and a half (v. 11).

Our God provides for us too. Despite the moments we feel crippled with fear, He knows exactly where we are and what we’re feeling. We can trust that God is bigger than all our fears.

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Post Comments (51)

51 thoughts on "Paul’s Second Missionary Journey Ends"

  1. Emma says:

    As I considered Paul’s fears in his mission work, I kept returning to Priscilla and Aquila, and the fear they must have carried as exiles and helpers to Paul. Despite their hardships, they were a couple that stuck together and ministered Jesus as a team. Paul mentions them a few times in his letters and praises their hospitality and faith. Very inspiring and motivating to me as someone always trying (and struggling) to turn my marriage to God. Maybe I need to keep acts 18:9-10 as my new marriage mantra

  2. Marissa Canez says:

    Alayna, I know this fear all too well. Three years ago, I was trying to stir up the courage to look at my room, pack up all my stuff & come to terms that I was spending the last month in my house full of family. It is scary. I cried every night for a straight month leading up to move in day because I didn’t want to accept change. But I couldn’t not be more thankful that the Lord gave me courage. He gave me courage to hope right out of my comfort zone & grow. He with honor your faithfulness, He will bless your courage, He will love you all the way through it. Praying for you, chica. You got this because you have the ONE who conquers all living inside of you.

  3. Alayna says:

    Hey ladies! I would really appreciate some prayer. I am leaving for college soon and I am completely terrified. I don’t feel ready to leave my safe bubble I’ve created at home and yet I know that God is calling me to move on and do bigger things with my life. I have been praying for peace and excitement for college but I’m just not feeling any better.

    1. Amanda says:

      Hey Alayna,
      I will definitely be praying for you as you embark into a new chapter of your life. I am also going to begin college in the fall and feel overwhelmed and terrified as well. I pray that you find peace and comfort in this time of uncertainty and know that God’s plans are to prosper you. I wish you the best of luck as you begin college.

      1. Hannah says:

        Praying for you Amanda. I too am headed off to college and am having my doubts as to if that’s where I need to be. We have so many choices and no longer can rely on telling people our grade levels.

    2. Hannah says:

      Prayers for you Alayna. I am torn between the many options we have as graduates.

    3. Kyla says:

      Hi Alayna,
      I’m praying peace and calmness for you as you venture into this new chapter. I know that the excitement will catch up to you, and the fear will subside; just keep praying, and continue to move in faith. When I was 20, I moved away from home to a city I didn’t know existed. I was terrified, but I felt God tugging me there; and that move shaped my life into fulfilling every dream I ever had for myself. Praise be to God! He is always in your corner. The beginning of anything is always the toughest, but with Christ in the center e v e r ything will fall into place.

      1. Hope says:

        Hi, congratulations as you look toward a new future! I’m a young college professor and I wanted you to know that I pray for all my students before each class in my office. I’m not the only one that does in secular schools. You may never know it but there is a crew of us that actively lift your names to the heavens while you are at college. Blessings & do not fear!

    4. Cindy says:

      Oh Lord, thank you for these mighty women of God who are facing their fears, leaving their “safe bubbles” and going out of their comfort zones to where you will stretch them build them and guide them into Your next steps for them. Please help them to hold on to all you have planted in their hearts. Though the grounds they walk will be different grounds, you have given them that ground. Help them therefore to stand firm, relying on You, relying on the truth of Your Word.
      Help them to find community in Your Spirit. Though there will be man spiritualisms offered to them help them to not waver from pursuing You, Your word, and walking in faith. You have already equipped them to do this – help them to remember and to walk in Your ways. Please lead each one through the labyrinth of academia and class choices. Please provide excellent roommates, suitemates, friends, professors. Pleaase provide a strong church of which they can be a part and benefit from others gifts and share theirs. Bless these women as they pursue You and follow You. Amen
      PS And help one of them or their godly friends, or other godly young women to become the wife of one of my four sons :-)

    5. Alexandra says:

      Alayna, I’m in the same boat you are in. I’m leaving for college in 6 weeks and I’m fearful of some of the changes, but let your faith in God be greater than any fears you have!!

    6. Julie says:

      As someone who was in your shoes just last year, I want to encourage you that the fear doesn’t last. God is already preparing a place for you in your new college life, and He is in total control of your circumstances, so you can confidently “cast all your anxieties on Him.”
      I’d also like to add one more “don’t be afriad” and encourage you not to be afraid to find a new church, even if you have to go on your own. Finding a good church group during college has been the biggest blessing of my college experience. Having a church home makes being away from home so much easier. the church really is your family, so don’t hesitate to jump right in!

    7. Emily says:

      Thank you for asking for prayer on here Alayna. I am facing a similar situation. It is so comforting and encouraging to know that I’m not the only one in this boat, or should I say about to step onto the waters :)? For those of us facing this fear, I pray God blesses and strengthens and provides all our needs.

  4. Alexandra says:

    I loved reading this scripture passage today!! I recently wrote an essay for my Latin class on a motto I like and I used the phrase “faith over fear” (or “fides super terror” in Latin!). I talked about how I am fearful of the changes I will experience when I leave for college, but I know that God is on my side and I need to let my faith in Him be greater than my fears. So ladies, Faith over Fear!! Do not be afraid!!

    1. Veronica says:

      Love this! Especially having the Latin context behind it.

  5. Hannah says:

    Hello ladies! I could really use some prayer for direction as I step into this next part of my life. There are so many choices and we have so much freedom, but I ask for the desire to choose the life Jesus died to give me.

    1. Nikravesous says:

      Heavenly Father, I pray that you would guide Hannah at this pivotal time in her life. Help her have clarity and courage to move forward in Your will and stand boldly for the truth. We know that you have a wonderful plan for her and I pray that You help her walk in faith along Your path. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  6. Muriel says:

    I too was born and raised Catholic and baptized as an infant. As a teen I was born again within the Catholic Church as part of the renewal of the Catholic Church (charismatic movement). Few years after that I started attending a Bible believing church. And one Easter Sunday as an adult I was baptized again in the river. I’ll never forget it!

  7. SusieT says:

    My, how timely! This morning a lightning strike caused a fire that totaled our house. …but we are safe, praise God! Thank you, though for your prayers, dear SRT sisters!

    1. Missa says:

      Praying for you, Susie.

    2. churchmouse says:

      Oh my. Thankful you are safe. Praying for you all as you recover and rebuild

      1. Cathy says:

        Praying!!

    3. Nikravesous says:

      Praying for you Susie! What a situation! Praise God you are all safe

  8. Erin C says:

    Really cool point about fear effecting even Paul, I think I needed to hear that.

    I’ve often been the “anchor”, the storm-worthy, emergency person in my family and even in some of my friendships– but just because doubt and fear are not the particular footholds I often stumble in, does not mean that I am never afraid. I definitely have felt fear, especially when God calls me to something that seems crazy to other people, or that might be humiliating, and I’m not sure that I’ve called it what it was: fear. I find that we need to accurately identify sin (yes, I consider submitting to fear, sin) in order to adequately address it, and sometimes our uncommon sins have a way of seeming “not that big”.

    “You must not be afraid any longer” and the entire concept that these calls to depart from fear are commands, makes it easier to stand up in (for me)– literally reminding myself that I have no choice, and that GOD is responsible for the consequences (“hitting the water at the wrong angle”, or “a tree branch” when we jump). I feel so much freedom in knowing that he’s already thought about that stuff.

    1. this was so encouraging to read Erin, thank you!! So much truth!

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