Acts 23:11 - The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”
Take Courage! That is a message that we all need to hear from time to time. Life is hard and we all need encouragement. In this story Paul was in prison. There were also men outside of the prison that wanted him dead, which was part of the reason he had to stay there.
Normally Paul would be surrounded by people that could encourage him, but now, since he was in prison, he was all alone. It did not look good. God knew that he was struggling and came and encouraged him in what may have been his darkest hour.
In our lives we often need encouragement as well. Times are hard and the days are getting darker, but we have to stand strong in the midst of it all. There are times when God will encourage you directly. He will speak to your heart or mind and let you know that He is with you, but there are times when He calls others to do the encouraging.
We, as Christians, are called to encourage each other. In this story Paul is alone, so God came directly. Many times, however, He will speak through those that are around you. That is part of the reason it is so important to surround yourself with believers.
It is also important to be an encourager yourself. You never know who might be going through a hard time. Just as God will use someone to encourage you when you need it, He will also use you to encourage others when they need it. Be open and willing to encourage those around you. Speak life into them and build them up.