A Letter to Paul

(Written by Emily Matthews)

Paul loved to write letters. I mean, he is in prison, so what else could he do with all of his free time?

I wonder what the letters written back to him said?

Did these people question anything he said? Did they wholly accept his encouragement and guidance? Were their any rebuttals and nay-sayers? Because I would have a thing or two to tell Paul.

So I decided to write my own letter. Here is my response to Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

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Dearest Paul,

Hate to hear about the prison and all the people trash talking you. Stay strong, friend. Keep on keepin’ on…

But here’s the thing about what you wrote to us… You have to stop it with all the hard stuff. These things you talk about are BIG and HARD. I am writing to you today specifically about when you talked about “wanting to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his suffering, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” (Remember, in your letter to the Philippians, verses 10-11?).

The power of Christ… YES. Sign me up for that.

But, the rest? That’s heavy stuff, man.

I want to do all the good Christian things. I’ll read my bible. And pray {semi} regularly {when I remember}. I’ll tithe. And give my time to the church. It’s the checklist of the Jesus Life I can handle.

The suffering and “becoming like Him in death” sounds a little too uncomfortable. So I’m not so sure. You’re going to have to convince me more on that stuff… I look forward to hearing back from you.

Sincerely,
Emily

Don’t we all feel like this?

We want the good. The bad is too unpleasant to even think about most of the time… Let alone participate in.

Like Jessica said last week in our Philippains study, we want the resurrection, but the torture and blood and death we can’t handle.

So what do we do about this?

Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer. (Paul hasn’t replied to my letter yet… maybe he’s just assuming his other letters should suffice?)

But maybe, during this season of Lent as we prepare for Easter and His death and resurrection, we can spend some time in reflection and prayer about this… all this suffering and death and the BIG and HARD things.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ll get an answer?

Even if we don’t, it could be this reflection and prayer time is the thing that gives us that deeper, tangible relationship with Him.

And that I think I could deal with…

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