The Middle Distance

Running aground

“Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.” (Acts 27:26)

Sometimes things happen in our life over which we have no control and in which, we cannot see an outcome. In the case of the above verse, Paul was making his way, as a prisoner, to Rome. He submitted to this time of suffering in obedience to God. Having “appealed unto Caesar” (26:32) in order to testify for Jesus, he then sailed from Jerusalem, with a bunch of other prisoners, to Italy. On his way there, his ship wrecked on the coast of “Melita” (28:1), or Malta. Sometimes, God allows our already difficult circumstances to get even more tangled and confusing than we already thought we could bear. Before we go any further, I find it interesting that an angel would be sent to tell Paul that everything would be okay (27:23). It reminds me of Jesus in the wilderness after having dealt with the devil, when angels came and “ministered unto Him” (Matthew 4:11). It isn’t that what they were going through is any more important or significant than what we face. I believe in these instances, angels were the only means God had to buoy these two men, so intense and dense were their respective situations. Paul eventually made it to Rome. I love the last two verses of Acts:

“And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus, no man forbidding him.” (Acts 28:30-31)

Hitting the ground running

“His own hired house”, eh? Toward the end of Paul’s life, It’s like God carved out a little place just for him. And it isn’t that Paul retired, no. It says he received “all that came in unto him”. I would say that Paul was a pretty busy guy. This walking singularity, full of the power and presence of God. The point is, the more suffering that gets stacked upon you, the more you’re able to indeed do more for God. I wouldn’t ask for more difficulties, but I wouldn’t necessarily run away. It’s that “middle distance” between the start and the finish where you feel like quitting but daren’t entertain the thought. Keep running. Keep going. Sing a song to God or find some creative way to bridge the distance through worship and praise.

“And when he had accomplished those days…” (Acts 21:5) God will see to it that your period of trial is only as long as He says, no further. Hang in there! You just might get to see an angel.

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