Read Acts 23:11
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.” (NIV)
Once when on an express train in rural England,I noticed how young lambs fled in terror as the train passed. The older sheep tended to go on grazing irrespective of the noise of the train. They had learned there was nothing to fear.
Similarly,like many others,I have undergone medical procedures that when faced for the first time aroused anxiety or fear. But having undergone many such procedures,the fears dissipate (though not necessarily the discomfort!).
It seems we get more courage the more we face our fears. Having endured one situation we can confront the next situation with more courage. This is something like what Paul was experiencing in our text. He had faced opposition in Jerusalem and been sustained. He would be similarly sustained when he faced opposition in Rome. Having once experienced the faithfulness of God,he could safely believe it could be relied upon again.
The American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson said that the greatest part of courage is having done the thing before. To which we might add that we have done the thing before with the help of a God who never changes and from whom we learn and receive courage.