As you may recall, in Acts 23 Paul is giving an account of his ministry before the Sanhedrin (Jewish religious leaders) in Jerusalem:
10 When the dispute became violent, the commander feared that Paul might be torn apart by them and ordered the troops to go down, rescue him from them, and bring him into the barracks.11 The following night, the Lord stood by him and said, “Have courage! For as you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” (Acts 23:10-11, HCSB)
The theological term for this phenomena is Christophany – an appearance of Christ. For Paul, this was his second. The first time, Paul was knocked off his horse on the way to Damascus.
But this isn’t the only Christophany in the Bible…God walking with Adam and Eve in the Garden is one…the “Angel of the Lord” who appears throughout the OT is also thought to be a description of the pre-incarnate Jesus. My favorite example is the “fourth man” in Daniel’s fiery furnace. At important points in human history (or personal history), God shows up.
It has been true in my life, too. Many times, like Paul here in this dark situation, God has spoken prophetic comfort to me…but never through the physical presence of the Lord Jesus himself. Usually I hear from the Lord in the still, small voice. Perhaps, unlike Paul, I’ve never been in a situation dire enough to merit a physical visit from Jesus. I guess I’m OKwith that! But he still shows up.
So, my friend, be encouraged…God will speak courage to you when you need it. It may come in that prophetic idea, or through your Bible reading, or from a Christian friend…who knows…maybe Jesus himself will stand next to you. That word you need will come. However it happens, you can count on it.