Acts 9:13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
The Lord tells Ananias to go to Saul and he responds with “but…”. The church feared Saul and on the surface, this looked like a bad idea or an oversight by God. God responds with His own “but…”, revealing His predetermined plan for Saul’s life. Ananias responds in obedience.
Sometimes God tells me things through His Word or through His Spirit that seem like mistakes. The initial response from me is “But God!?” in a whinny voice. I can act or assume God is working without all the details or facts. “Invest in this person”, “give this”, “let this go”, etc. However, as it was with Ananias, so it is with me. The one working with the limited info and cloudy judgment is me, not God. I must change my “But God?!” response to a “BUT GOD CAN” response.
A few things…
-For every “but” I give, Jesus has a “but” to follow. Every excuse I give to ignore or disobey a directive from God will be met with a “but” from Him to redirect me back to what He originally called me to do. I sang last night, “I quit all negotiations with the God of all creation”. There is no negotiating. I just need to do it.
-People have a purpose. I don’t define that, God does. Therefore I must treat everyone like they have a divine purpose by loving and supporting them, whether it is a noble purpose or a common purpose. Both are divine.
-Our purpose, even our suffering is all part of God’s plan. Saul’s ministry victories and church planting legacy as well as his sufferings, imprisonments, near death experiences and his death itself were all planned by God. Suffering only makes sense when we see it as part of His story for our lives. Paul walked boldly into pain and sorrows because he knew that even those were God’s plan for him. Here I am 2000 years later still talking about it. (Even the pain is His plan)
Father thank you for this insight today. You know better than I do. Your plan is better than mine. My whole life, even the suffering is in your hands. May I love people well today and live out my calling to share the good news and my life as well.