God has his ways and they are oft mysterious in the present.
->What’s the reason Jesus Christ stepped directly into Paul’s path, then led him into darkness, then troubles, then silence …
->What’s the reason some seasons seem so long, perhaps difficult, leaving you feeling uncertain?
->What’s the reason . . . you know God has called you to a task, but seems like he forgot or lost his way?
->What’s the reason . . . God redeemed you, showed you the Way, then seems to have you left you in the desert?
For the children of God, there is the bigger story - the whole story.
For the children of God, he always has a plan.
For the children of God, he never falls asleep.
For the children of God, he never leaves them to their own devices.
For the children of God, any season of waiting is always purposed for our good.
Maybe you’re in the season of ‘not now’, ‘just wait’, ‘it will soon be better’ or ‘keep your eyes on Me…I am all you need’. Sometimes it is difficult but one day, twill all be clear when we see Jesus face to face.
Think of Saul who Jesus deliberately went after for a big, grand purpose, but then---seemed to throw one curveball after another. Reading his story from Acts chapter 9 forward this morning, his was a radical turnabout and though he was told he would face great suffering for the name of Jesus, he pursued Christ all the harder! It is as though a door was cracked open, Saul got a glimpse of all of the hard times he was going to face - and knew he had a choice: go back from whence he came or continue on, accepting that not much was ever going to be easy again. This is quite a thought for me. [would I go boldly into a future I was clearly shown would be fraught with difficulty if I accepted my calling?] Saul, so convinced of the truth of the life and love of his Messiah, Jesus Christ, certainly did--he left the known for the unknown. He left his beloved Pharisaical Judaism and Torah law--and became an outcast among his friends and family. His gain - the grace of God, relationship with Jesus, and the adventure of taking the gospel out, and training those within for the rest of his life.
If we are honest, sometimes it seems like things just seem to come easily to others, but we really have no idea of the inner workings of that person’s life. Without looking a little closer, we could think that Saul was saved one day, and after three quiet days in Damascus, started preaching and had a vibrant ministry. We would be wrong.
Let's look. From Acts 9: For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
When many days had passed. . .1
How many days went by? From his letter to the church at Galatia, we learn that ‘many days’ amounted to about three years. Well, okay. From Galatians chapter 1, Paul writes “For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem…2
After his dramatic transformation, Saul was sidelined in the desert for three years; we will also learn that after that, he was back in Tarsus for about a decade before his time of ministry to God is fully activated. Hmmm… a time of waiting, trusting…
From the time Saul knew the truth of Jesus, he lived every day trusting God and desiring to honor him. In blindness, in waiting and in silence, Saul knew whatever God permitted in his life was for a reason - a reason to grow him for a bigger purpose.
In the waiting
In the time of trial
In the uncertainty, I want to make it my daily purpose to live for God’s glory . . .
In attitude, in thought, in word, in deed ~ even when I do not understand.
I take to heart what Jesus said, “My Father is always working, and so am I.”3
Hmmm. Yesterday morning I thought to myself 'So if God is always at work in my life, particularly in answer to my prayers, then I should not fret over my concerns, but instead thank God for how he is working. Yeah, that's right--that's good.'
And so I wait . . . and smile.
From Shane & Shane, I Will Wait for You, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8pCbtLeXzc
Each day with one eye cast toward Heaven,
1 - Acts 9.19-23a
2 - Galatians 1.13-18a
3 - John 5.17