Acts 20:4 – 23
What a wild ride Paul had spreading the news about Jesus! God was with him every step of the way, though, just as He’s been with me. Even when I feel far away from Him, he is near to me.
There’s a great deal of history in today’s reading. Paul was nearly killed by the Jews…rescued by a Roman commander, ordered flogged, and then, when the commander learned of Paul’s Roman citizenship, the flogging order was rescinded. A plot arose among some of the Jews to kill Paul; in fact, 40 of them vowed a hunger strike until the deed was done. Their attempt was thwarted, however, by Paul’s nephew, who overheard the scheme and told Paul about it beforehand. The chapter ends with the Roman commander spiriting Paul away under cover of darkness to Governor Felix. I can almost imagine Paul winding his way through a maze with the Lord removing obstacles and plucking him out of harm’s way in just the nick of time! It’s wondrous how the Lord used a child — the nephew — to thwart the plans of those who would do evil.
Roman citizenship was a big deal. The commander himself was a citizen, but he had to purchase his, whereas Paul’s citizenship was by birth. Likewise, citizenship in the Kingdom of God is also a big deal, isn’t it? We who have been grafted into the tree are heirs. In this day of troubling headlines and worldly sorrows, it is solace to have a dual-citizenship: my loyalties lie first to the Lord, and then to my country. Even if my country fails me, the Lord never will…
…and a testimony to that is the much improved battle I have faced with pain this month! I stood in church today, silently singing because my voice is not yet completely back, when all of a sudden I was overcome with joy and gratitude for what God has done for me. It was only a month or so ago that I wrote in this blog that my Christmas wish was to be pain-free, without having to have surgery or having to take drugs. I am still taking it all in…the wonder.