Friday, January 4, 2013

Advent Archive: Acts 14

Paul’s life can be summed up in a book named “The Great Redemptive Disappointments.” When he recounts his own story later in life, he will tell of all of the disappointments and shortcomings, the trials and tribulations, the disasters and sorrows. It is greatly redeemed though, because as he recounts, he will certainly point out that the suffering of this present age is not worthy to compare with the glory which will be revealed. Trials bring dark nights of pain, but that is ok, for joy comes in the morning. Acts 14 tells of the joy and sorrow that Paul faced. He entered a town called Lystra, no doubt praying that God would give him favor in the eyes of the people. When he showed up, he rejoiced at the cordial reception of the people. Soon, though, that joy turned to horror as he realized that the kindness of the people was coming from their thinking he was a god. He quickly tore his clothes to reveal that he was just human. Apparently, this disappointed them greatly. So greatly, that they eventually picked up stones and stoned him right there. So from one moment to the next, Paul went from ultimate acceptance, to utter rejection. What a tragic experience. However, Paul was unstoppable. After they left him for dead, he got up and went on to the next town to preach the gospel. This great disappointment was certainly redeemed in the Apostle Paul’s life. How do we do? Do we let failure cripple us? Do we lose sight of the ultimate when the immediate turns unfavorable? May we see Paul and with boldness through circumstance, press on.
Food For Thought: Read what Paul wrote in Romans 8:35-39. What do you imagine Paul was thinking as he was being stoned to death?