Thursday 14th May
The explorer and missionary David Livingstone said, ‘I am prepared to go anywhere, so long as it is forward’. Here was a man determined to keep going and not turn back. The idea of turning back never occurred to Paul either.
There are there times when we are distracted, or when we mishear or misunderstand God and lose our way, or take a detour. Even Paul seems to have misunderstood God at first. But when we have taken time to seek God’s will, we can step out in faith even if the way seems unclear. God can use our detours to get us where he wants us.
But it is not easy keeping going forward. There are times when our courage wavers, when we struggle to keep going. When everything seems to be against us. Look at what Paul and his companions went through. In Thessalonica although the gospel is well received by many, the Jews who were not persuaded gathered a mob and set the whole city in uproar. Before the rulers of the city they accuse the Christians of turning the world upside down.
Oh, that that might be said of us today. Jesus came to challenge the old order of things and to turn the world upside down. As his followers shouldn’t we be doing the same? A child once said that the new testament ended with ‘Revolutions’! When we put our faith into action then it should cause a revolution, not just in our lives but also in the life of society. The gospel is not a sedative, not something to make us feel better, it is social and spiritual dynamite.
In Berea Paul’s message is received gladly and many believe. But again, the Jews stir up trouble and Paul has to leave. This is the fifth city where an angry mob, stirred up by the Jewish leaders, run him out of town. He leaves behind Silas and Timothy to nurture and strengthen the new believers.
Paul had been imprisoned in Philippi, he had left Thessalonica under the cover of darkness in fear for his life and again in Berea he must flee for his life. Others would have abandoned a struggle that seemed bound to end in arrest and death. Often God’s work does not look successful.
That’s because he uses our weaknesses to accomplish his purposes. Paul knew this and no matter what happened to him he stayed focused on sharing the gospel. He was prepared to go anywhere, so long as it was forward. I pray that we might follow his example.
Reflection by Sue Fulford