I just finished reading the book of Acts. One story that never gets old to me is found in the final chapters as Paul gives us a play-by-play depiction of his journey to Rome. Before the journey really begins, God clearly speaks to Paul and affirms that he will go to Rome to share the gospel.
Okay, hit the Bible pause button…take off your Sunday “I’m fine brother, how are you doing…God is good” standard Christianese greeting language. When I read this, I’m thinking if I was Paul I would be imagining how cool this journey is going to be. Stop in a few cities along the way…plant a few churches…heal some sick…baptize some new Christians…it’s all good!
Well that wasn’t quite how God had it worked out. The journey would ultimately involve a trial, an enraged mob seeking to kill Paul, imprisonment, another trial, a prison ship, another angry group seeking to kill Paul, a shipwreck, a snake bite, and ultimately house arrest in Rome. Now, the picture I had about healing the sick and leading new people to Christ…that all took place, but in the midst of chaotic near death experiences. Not to mention when he arrived in Rome, the last records we have is Paul confined to a house arrest…and living on his own dime.
Still, my man perseveres and the book closes with:
“For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense.s He welcomed all who visited him, boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him.”
Now that is perseverance, and that is how the Kingdom of God comes. Ultimately, no one can stop it! I have to admit, in a moment of transparency here, that I tend to lean towards a big inner-pity party rather than bold perseverance. I’m struggling with that this morning as I’m wrapping my two lower-legs for support and pain relief….as I’m heading to play two worship sets at COTES without any in-ear monitors…as I struggle with lower back pains…and as I go through the rest of my stupid list.
It’s no where near what Paul had to do to further his ministry call. And ultimately it’s not even worth an ounce of worry. For the journey is perseverance. If you are called to God’s purpose, there is an enemy who wants to knock you out in the journey. There is an oppressor who will try to take you out 15 different ways every step of the way.
What is your struggle today? What is the enemy lying to you about? Keep your eyes on Jesus, the perfecter of our faith. Keep persevering and know that He will take you where He has promised. The journey may not be what you expect…and the ultimate destination may not be a grandiose picture in your head. If the Kingdom of God is being furthered along the way, then you are right on track!
Breathe In & Smile Out,