My study of the scriptures has had a profound effect on my life. As I have studied, I have grown closer to God and found answers to real challenges in my life. This blog is a scripture journal that records insights I have discovered in the past and continue to gain as I search, ponder, and pray.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Acts 23 A Different Pathway Than Expected

Why  isn't it happening? Do I lack sufficient faith? What about the faith of the hundreds of others who are praying for us? What more can I do?

A few weeks ago I asked these  heartfelt questions in my journal. Since I had no satisfying answers, I left the questions hanging with the closing statement of "I don't understand."

I wonder if the Apostle Paul experienced the same questions?

In Acts 22-24 we read about the attempts of the Jews to kill Paul. It must have been a terrifying time for Paul. At one point, in order to save his life he  resorted to pulling rank as a Roman citizen, an action he usually avoided. At which point he was thrown in prison, not released an escorted to safety.

During the night the Lord appeared to Paul. In Acts 23:11 we read that he didn't just appear before him, but the Savior "stood by him. and told him to "Be of good cheer." In the NIV it reads "take courage."  The message continued. Just as Paul had testified of the Savior in Jerusalem, he would testify of the Savior in Rome. For a man who was in prison and whose life was in real danger, this must have been comforting.

Yet, we read at the end of Chapter 24 that Felix held Paul a prisoner in Caesarea for two years. I wonder if that period seemed like a long time to Paul? Did he ever begin to doubt that the words of the Lord would be fulfilled? Would he ever really preach in Rome? And why is it taking so long?

We know the end of the story. Paul was taken to Rome. He testified of Christ in Rome, even while he spent the first two years of his stay there as a prisoner. The Lord's words were fulfilled. However, in the midst of the imprisonment--in the middle of the pathway that took him to Rome--it probably didn't feel like the right path at all.

In God's own way and in his own time, he will fulfill his words. And in my case, his words are usually fulfilled by a different pathway than I expect.

But, he is a God of truth and always keeps his word. It is my task to wait upon him with patience.