What a wild adventure we are on. I’m just blown away by God’s goodness! Has it been smooth and easy? About as smooth as licking a pine-cone. Has it been the path we would have chosen if we were in control? No way, my plan always has more beach vacations and winning lotto tickets in it. Is it worth it? I’ll answer that with the name that is worthy of it all. JESUS! One of my favorite things to do is reflect with Holy Spirit on where I was 5 years ago today. What joy to be able to remember God’s faithfulness despite my brokenness. It energizes me for the future, to know that there’s nothing that can stop God’s plan for my life. It turns out despite my best efforts I can’t screw it up as long I say yes and give God my mistakes.
I imagine that at some degree this motivated the Apostle Paul as well. Paul a murderous, hyper-religious Pharisee set free and transformed into one the most influential men in the Gospel. In Acts 13, we see Paul set out with Barnabas to begin their evangelistic campaign the Lord has called them to. Because the Lord has called them to where they are preaching they see great success, but it doesn’t come easy.
Acts 13: 49-52
49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. 50 But the Jewish leaders incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Coupled with the expansion of the word in the region they are sent is persecution. Paul and Barnabas are not bothered a bit by it. They dust of their feet and move on. Shaking the dust off wasn’t sign of indignation. It was the apostles simply moving on into their call, and leaving behind what they couldn’t control. You can’t do that unless you have vision. If you don’t know where God has brought you from and where he’s taking you, persecution and trials always feel like a dead end. It’s crucial that as we move forward we hold on to our Jesus mandated vision. Remembering God’s faithfulness in days past and eagerly looking forward to what he’s calling us to. Paul and Barnabas knew what far too few don’t. When it’s for Jesus, it’s always worth it.