Them Bones, Them Bones

Acts 16:19-25

Duffy Daugherty, a colorful Michigan State football coach in years past, used to say that you needed only three bones to journey successfully through life: a wishbone, to dream on . . . a backbone, for strength and courage to get through the tough times . . . and a funny bone, to laugh at life along the way. Not bad advice.

When I think of these three bones, the apostle Paul immediately springs to mind. Though under arrest and facing an uncertain tomorrow, his wishbone was in healthy shape. His dream of spreading the gospel far and wide was being realized. “Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel . . . and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear” (Phil. 1:12–14).

How about Paul’s backbone? Need I repeat the dark side of his resume? “Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure” (2 Cor. 11:24–27).

Curiously, though, all this did not embitter or sour the Apostle of Grace. His funny bone stayed intact. In fact, no other writer of Scripture mentions joy or rejoicing more often. Remember when he and Silas were seized by a hostile mob, beaten mercilessly, then dumped into a dungeon with their feet fastened in stocks? It was around midnight at the end of that same day, while their sores were oozing and their bruises throbbing, that he and Silas were praying and singing a few duets of praise (Acts 16:19–25).

What exceptional dreams . . . what relentless courage . . . what contagious joy!

History is still being written. And we’re still on the journey from here to eternity. The destination’s sure for the Christian, but the trip isn’t easy.

Dream big . . . don’t let anybody or anything break your wishbone. Stay strong, full of faith, and courageous . . . keep that backbone straight. And along the way, don’t forget to laugh and enjoy the journey.

Your funny bone isn’t merely a nice option;
it’s part of your survival gear for the trip to glory.

Your sense of humor isn't merely a nice option; it's part of your survival gear for the trip to glory.

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Taken from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.