Wednesday of Trinity 8 – Acts 27:9-26

| July 31, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Acts 27:9-26

“I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.”

Is this a sentence that you can say in all honesty?

Naturally, the difficulty in believing what God has told you would depend on several variables: how unlikely and improbable the statement is; how strong your faith is; how certain you are that it is God who told you; what you believe about God and how He works, etc.

But you know what I mean.

“I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.”

Is this a sentence that you can say in all honesty?

When St. Paul uttered these words, he was once again faced with a life or death situation.  The ship he and others were on was being tossed by a tempest that beat upon it and them.  According to St. Luke, who was an eyewitness of the events, all hope that they would be saved was finally given up (verse 20).

Paul alone has courage and hope, and he urges them to take heart or be cheerful.  His reason for being courageous and hopeful?  Because he saw an angel who told him not to be afraid, that he must be brought before Caesar, and that God had granted the lives of all who were sailing with him. And this is where our story ends for today.

Night night, kids. I’ll see you in the morning.  Don’t forget to say your prayers.

 

I’m not really done with today’s devotion, but it sure looks like it when the words are boldfaced, doesn’t it?  You might want to actually pray during this intermission because prayer is always in order. 

 

So now we know why Paul said what he said about believing what God had told him.  But we still haven’t answered it for you.  God speaks to people in different ways.  He speaks to many through His creation, He speaks through our consciences, and He speaks through the events of the day.  But I haven’t met many people to whom He speaks directly through an angel or in an audible voice.  Of course this doesn’t mean that He can’t or doesn’t speak this way, but it does mean that most of us had better be listening for His voice in less obvious ways.

I find that when God speaks to most of us, He also doesn’t speak with as much specificity as He did to Paul, telling him specifically where he was going and that everyone’s life would be spared.

And yet for all of our differences from Paul, isn’t it true that God does speak to us?  We all know that He does.  He speaks through His Word, and He speaks as His Word is preached by His ministers.  He speaks through His disciples to us, and He speaks through our own hearts and minds.  God speaks!  And even when He doesn’t speak with as much specificity as He did to Paul in Acts 27, still He speaks.  God speaks!  It’s one of the fundamental truths of reality.

So rather than getting hung up on the ways He speaks or with what degree of specificity, I still want you to answer the question you’ve been avoiding?  What’s that?  Oh, yeah.  I guess I have been the one avoiding the question.

How am I doing when the Lord tells me things?  I don’t have to think very hard to know some of the things He’s told me.  Ask me about the specific things, and I may stutter and stumble, but I know lots of things that He’s told all of His disciples to do.

So how are you and I doing with them?

You first.  Oh, that’s right.  I can’t hear you, even if you get to hear me.  Somehow that doesn’t seem fair, but then again that’s why they pay me the big bucks.

To be honest, sometimes I do well and other times I don’t.  In several cases I’ve had the experience where  I heard no audible voice and had no strange night visitors, and yet God told me and confirmed to me that I should move.  And so I moved.  It was a feeling and a process that at first felt a lot like His calling me to write Give Us This Day.

Sometimes, the experience can be almost humorous because of the contrast between what I know God had told me not too long ago and the lack of faith I manifest in what He told me.

But I’ve learned a few things through today’s lesson and reflecting on my ministry situation.  First, if things went exactly as I planned them, then God is probably calling me to something larger, where I won’t get fooled again into thinking that I’m in charge.  Second, I’ve learned that one of the reasons I’m a pygmy in faith compared to St. Paul is that I haven’t fully learned to trust all that God has told me.  How is that Paul could receive God’s word to him in such difficult circumstances?  He had learned from his Master that he could trust Him when He spoke.

That’s my prayer for myself – to learn to trust every word that comes out of the mouth of my Master.

And now it really is your turn.  “I believe God that it will be just as it was told me,” Paul said.

Do you?

Prayer:  O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light rises up in darkness for the godly: Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, to ask what you would have us do; that the spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, that in your light we may see light, and in your straight paths may not stumble, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.  (William Bright)

 

Point for Meditation:  Reflect on how well you have been listening to the voice of God and how well you have truly believed what He has told you.  What He is telling you may be more or less specific, and it may pertain to specific current conditions or to permanent fruits of the Spirit He would like You to enjoy. 

Resolution:  I resolve to choose one thing I know the Lord has told me and which I have trouble fully believing.  Having chosen this one thing, I resolve to practice believing God through it today. 

© 2012 Fr. Charles Erlandson

 

God’s Call – CC Image courtesy of Librarian by loswl on Flickr.jpg

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