Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. (ESV)
We all experience hardship. Some experience more hardship than others. The truth is, hardship cannot be avoided. Our Savior promised that those who would follow him would be hated like he was hated (John 15:18). That does not necessarily make us feel good. The comfort for us is that we do not go through any suffering alone. Our wonderful Savior is with us in all of our troubles.
In the Apostle Paul's case, his life was defined by hardship. As he writes this letter to Rome he mentions two people named Andronicus and Junia. These are not common names for us to hear. You have likely never heard a sermon about them. Why are they significant to Paul? For one reason, they were his fellow prisoners. Paul did not suffer alone. These godly people were with him.
When you go through a great trial in life with someone at your side you grow in your love for one another. Paul had gone through great trials with Andronicus and Junia at his side. It made the whole experience more of a blessing. It is significant that he mentions them by name and that they were in prison with him. Hardship? Yes. Jesus had provided that these dear people would share that hardship with Paul.
There are so many reasons for faithfully attending a local gathering of believers in Jesus Christ. One of the best reasons is that we find in a local community, the church, people who will not only worship Christ with us, but also those who will endure hardship with us. We find that God did not intend for our hardship to be without purpose. We also find that He did not intend for us to endure hardship alone.
You will go through hardship. Who is your "spiritual battle buddy?" Do you have someone like Paul had, who you can suffer with? I pray that you find one who will endure hardship with you.