So, recently I have been wondering about a possible universal truth concerning my walk with God. I have had times in my life where God and I are so tight and the power of God is so real in my life that I actually see miracles start to happen around me.
Then there are other times when things get a little . . . dull.
Not God’s fault at all.
I own that.
Why do things get “dull” in my walk? What about my circumstances have changed that I find myself not as close as I would like, and thus see His power diminished in my life?
There is one common thread that I might have found in my reflections and something that jumped out at me while reading Acts 28:5-9;
But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.
7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.
Photo credit: Marten de Vos, St Paul Bitten by a Viper on the Island of Malta, c. 1567.
I have to admit, that part where it says, “Paul . . placed his hands on him and healed him” really grabbed me. I have a hernia right now. It’s been 6 months. There are various reasons that I’m not jumping into surgery right now, but the biggest one is that I truly believe that God will heal it. I don’t know when, but I really do believe He will heal it. He has sustained me this far and it actually feels much better than it did when I first found it, but I am ready for it to be gone, once and for all.
Ok, so back to what stuck out to me in this passage. As of this point in Acts, Paul is on his way to Rome to be seen before Caesar, of whom he appealed to, all because He believed in the resurrection of the dead, hence Yeshua/Jesus.
Paul is at this point a prisoner. In fact, his whole life’s circumstances is basically consumed not only with believing that Yeshua/ Jesus is the Messiah, but that Paul believes in the resurrection of the dead.
Nowadays, that seems like a minuscule point. In fact, a few chapters before hand, he would have even been set free had he not appealed to Caesar, (Acts26:32).
But he did appeal, so on trial he stands, but not before the long sailing trip to Italy. After they arrive safely in Malta, this is where the famous incident with the snake happens with Paul. He gets bit. Everyone expected him to swell up or die.
But he didn’t.
Then he starts praying for people to be healed and they are healed.
I want that.
Not just to be healed but to pray for people to be healed and see it happen. And that’s one of the biggest reasons I had taken some time off from writing because of I Cor. 4:20;
For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power.
Power. That’s what we all want to see, right? God’s power. And I thought about one obvious circumstance in Paul’s life at this instance.
Paul’s entire life at this moment in wrapped up in the resurrection of the Messiah (hint, hint). The man wouldn’t even be on this boating trip if it weren’t his beliefs about the resurrection of the dead. But yet, here he is. In Malta, on his way to trial in Rome, where eventually he will be sentenced, but not before being treated with much favor!
God was with him in a powerful way. And I want that too. But I want to know if I can have it without the “crisis,” so to speak. Like I started to explain before, I have seen God’s power in my life, but it has always been in a crisis or desperate situation. And since God does not change (Malachi 3:6), I know it’s me.
And that’s my point. I change when my life is desperate or I am facing a crisis. I start really searching for Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength (Jer.29:13). He is always faithful and is found! But, maybe I need to be using that same energy when my life is not in an immediate crisis.
And perhaps the biggest crisis I face right now is avoiding a self-inflicted crisis at all costs.
And the only way I know to do that, is to live out Psalm 91 every day and cleave to Him in love.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”
3 For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.
5 You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
6 Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
7 A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
8 You will only look on with your eyes
And see the recompense of the wicked.
9 For you have made the Lord, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10 No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.
11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
12 They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.
14 “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.
15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 “With a long life I will satisfy him
And let him see My salvation.”