[The Lord speaking to Paul] "I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles."
Thoughts for Today:In our passage today, the Lord tells Paul that He will rescue him from the Jews and the Gentiles. I'm sure Paul wondered how all that was going to happen. In a similar situation, if we are not careful our own expectations for how the rescue might occur can impede the Lord's plan.
Here is an old joke I am fond of:
A small town preacher had been lecturing his congregation on faith, "We must have it without doubt or fear -- the Lord will always provide a way out for us no matter how desperate our situation may appear. We simply have to trust Him!"
About this time a major rain storm had descended upon the town and surrounding areas. Water began to flood the streets and the river rose to dangerous levels. Many of the church members packed up their belongings in a truck and drove by the church. "Pastor, we've got an evacuation order, the river is rising, grab your things and let's get going," they shouted. "Nonsense," the Pastor replied, "Didn't you learn anything from my sermon? The Lord will provide a way out!"
A few hours later the police department did one last sweep of the town by boat to look for anyone left stranded. Standing on the steps of the church knee deep in water they found the Pastor. "Come aboard now Pastor, you're the last one to leave," the policemen ordered. Steadfast in his faith the Pastor replied, "I am safe; the Lord will send His help to rescue me -- He will provide a way out!" "Have it your way," they shouted as they motored off to safety.
The flood waters continued to rise. A helicopter flew over the flooded town now with only rooftops still visible -- its searchlight found the lone figure of the Preacher sitting on the roof of the church. "Grab the ladder, the levee is about to break and the town will be wiped out," they cried concerned for his safety. The Pastor refused, and shouted back "We must have faith and trust in the Lord, He will provide a way out."
The levee broke and the pastor drowned. Upon arriving in Heaven the Pastor asked to speak to the Lord, "You know Lord I have always tried to live a good life and preached your Holy Word. You heard my sermon, so why didn't you provide a way out for me? Why didn't you rescue me?" Concerned the Lord asked, "What did you expect? I sent a truck, then a boat, and finally a helicopter... you just kept refusing!"
Questions to Ponder:Are you having trouble and see no way out? Have you prayed and asked God for help and rescue? Are you waiting for a miracle? Is it possible God may choose to answer your prayer in a way you do not expect? Is it possible for you to miss the Lord's blessing entirely because you are so firmly entrenched in your own expectations?