Sunday, January 23, 2011
Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth. But Paul said to him, “God will slap you, you corrupt hypocrite! What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by ordering me struck like that?”... As the conflict grew more violent, the commander was afraid they would tear Paul apart. So he ordered his soldiers to go and rescue him by force and take him back to the fortress.
I wonder if Paul went to bed that night with the thought "that really went well...NOT!" Circumstantially, things really seemed to be going from bad to worse for Paul. God, graciously reassured Paul that he would preach again in Rome...just as he had in Jerusalem. Paul would live another day; but I wonder what Paul thought about the truth spoken to him that he would witness of God just as he had done in Jerusalem.
I wonder if he thought, "Gee, this hasn't been such a successful witness...They want to kill me - really rip-me-apart kind of kill me. What a pitiful show I am making of the Gospel...I am not demonstrating grace at all. Oh, and that retort to the high priest...the stinkin' high priest of all people. How did I miss that!?!?! I sure did leave them wanting more...but it was more of my pain not God. How on earth could this be useful to the Kingdom? And now, to get to go to Rome and do it all over again, in Latin (just a joke there). I don't see how this will go any better there. In fact, I bet my enemies will beat me there and really set the stage to mess up my testimony. Return now, precious Lord."
I don't think he thought that, either. But I probably would think that or worse. But as God spoke to Paul, it seems that all was as it should have been. Whoa. Just as you've done here, so you shall you do next time. And this was chaos and crazy...catastrophic, maybe. But God was still moving this thing forward. God was and is still sovereign.
When my life's circumstances spin wildly out of control, how do I demonstrate my complete trust in God? When I feel I have messed up beyond belief, how can I inwardly and outwardly wait on the Lord in quiet submission, confident of His purpose and plan?
It takes so much less than venomous threats to convince me that I have broken the unbreakable, unshakable, immutable plan of God. A little insecurity goes a long, long way. But I can quite deftly unwind some serious Savior study with too much thought on my importance in the universe. Since God is sovereign, I cannot foil His plans. I can choose to completely cooperate to the glory of His Name and the spread of His fame and my peace. Or I can wig out. My choice.
Lord, let my choice be for You, always. Let my trust in You, my God-confidence be a hallmark of my life here. I need to stay so in tune with You that my fearful flesh is never strong enough nor loud enough to adversely impact my response to You and the divine circumstances You have for me. Help my heart be strong. Thank You Jesus.