Reflections on Paul

Do you ever feel like Paul attended some spiritual boot camp you missed out on? Or that when He was blinded by God, he was not only converted but somehow became extra holy?

I do. I mean the man says some crazy things, things like:

*"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil. 1:21).
*"I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" (Phil. 3:8).

Really, Paul? Dying is gain? Everything is loss? Everything? Don't get me wrong. I want to believe these things. I believe that I should believe them. But most days, I just don't live like they are true.

Lately, this has had me feeling condemned, like maybe I'm not really a Christian. But yesterday, as I fought intense gusts of wind and lugged my aching, I-haven't-done-aerobics-in-years body across campus with my overflowing briefcase, stack of essays to be graded, coffee cup, and lunch bag in tow, God spoke to me. He gently reminded me of some other things that Paul said, things like:

"I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content" (Phil. 4:11).

"We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope" (Rom. 5:3).

And suddenly, my weary body was filled with hope. Though I was still fighting wind, aches, and the heaviness of my load, a burden lifted. For I saw that what God had taught Paul, He could teach me. And I believed that He would.