Longer Than You Thought

“When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus.  And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.” Acts 24:27

This morning’s scripture reading comes from Acts 24:24-25:12.  Paul is still under arrest for the sake of the gospel.  Two years have passed.

As I read Luke’s commentary I could not help but feel the magnitude of what was being communicated.  2 years are a good chunk out of a person’s life.  Imagine how you would feel if someone said, “For the next two years you are going to go through tribulation that will resemble being in prison.”  The fact is, many people are going through such tribulation.

For example, “A family that goes through a spouse with cancer can feel as if they are imprisoned as the cancer holds captive their schedules, their loss of energy, and often holds them captive on a roller-coaster that is both up and down.”

As I considered Paul’s circumstances I am reminded that Paul knew this was an opportunity for the gospel (24:24-25).  Each day Paul would be given opportunities to share and live out his faith in places where it would never be lived out otherwise.  Each day Paul was looking onward to what God had promised.  Paul would go to Rome.  As I read these verses, I was reminded of Romans 1:11-15 where Paul wrote with passion about being able to go to Rome to fulfill God’s purpose.

Finally I was reminded that each day Paul was given opportunity to trust God in extraordinary ways.  Romans 8:28 floods through my heart and mind even as I read this text.  Paul lived out what God promised.  Yes, it had to be longer than Paul thought it would be, but it was all worth it!!!

Now, let’s consider how we can apply this to our lives:

1)  The things you are facing are truly and opportunity for the gospel.  Ask the lord to give you a sensitivity to those around us who need the gospel.

2) The things you are facing are truly and opportunity to look to the future.  God will complete what he has promised.  I encourage you to read Romans 1:11-15 in order to grasp how we must look to the future.  If God has work for you to accomplish, your life is not finished.  There is still more to do.

3) The things you are facing are truly and opportunity to strengthen your faith.  Just like Paul we have been called to extraordinary faith.  Begin to journal all you are going through.  Be a voice for Christ in these days.

Yes, this moment may be longer than you think.  But be assured it will be worth it in the end.

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