Left For Dead
“But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,”
~ Acts 14:19-21 ESV
This morning as I was reading, I read this passage. Then, I read it again. I remember seeing this but it really struck me today. Paul was doing exactly what Jesus told him to do, preaching, in a city, and the people there hated it so badly, that they stoned him to the point that they believed he was dead. They left him for dead outside of the city. He was probably writhing in pain, disoriented, asking God “Why would you let this happen to me?! I’m doing what you told me to do.”
I know many times, I’m doing what I’m told to do, but things do not go exactly how I thought they should go. I start whining to God about it and questioning if I heard Him right or other questions. Am I being punished? What’s going on God?
Have you ever been in a place where you feel like you’re trying to do exactly what God has called you to do, but feel beat up? Man, I know I have.
But, read a little further. The disciples gathered around Paul. Now, how did the disciples know where Paul was? These may have been disciples made in that very city! Disciples that heard the gospel by Paul while he was doing exactly what he was called to do. The disciples gathered around him – I’m guessing probably in prayer asking God to heal him up so he could get back to work.
He went right back in the city where they’d stoned him. Now, if I’d been Paul, I’d probably want to run the opposite direction of the city I was just stoned nearly to death in. But, thank God, Paul wasn’t me. He rose up and went into the city, displaying the mighty power of healing by God.
If you’re doing what God has called you to do, I’d encourage you to keep doing that through everything, even a physical stoning. It’s better to oppose man, than it is to oppose God. If we run from what he called us to do, we may end up in the belly of a whale. If you feel like you’re crazy, imagine Noah when he started saying there would be a great flood and built a giant boat.
If you’re feeling beat down right now, call some of Jesus’ disciples (believers you know) and ask them to gather around you and pray. Then, get up and go back to work for Jesus.
Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/search/bible?photo=LkeX3OfsGHE