Isn’t it interesting how things turn out sometimes? I know there are times, many times, when I walk away from a situation thinking, “you know, that didn’t quite turn-out as I planned it.” Failure and mistakes are just a part of our daily life.
We can often try to make sense of life on our own. We may want to achieve certain things, have a house, have two cars and a dog. I may want to own my own yacht and cruise to the Bahamas. But, when it all comes down to it, none of that really matters because that doesn’t affect anything except the life we have right now. As long as life is going alright and is rather predictable, no one really minds. But, look at what happens when the economy changes, people lose jobs and homes or when someone gets sick. Suddenly we recognize that things are not always nice and that we do not have as much control as we think. Our plans, as great as they may be, do not have any guarantee of success. Yet, we have a God whose plans never fail. God always accomplishes His plans and often uses what we consider to be unlikely people, or circumstances to do that.
Paul wrote most of the New Testament, shared the gospel with the Gentiles, suffered in prison for the name of Jesus Christ. As heroic as that sounds, Paul wasn’t always that way. He was looking for Christians to put in prison and kill. He was going door to door gathering up Christians to beat and imprison. But God’s plans overruled any of his and his whole life was dramatically changed.
“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem” – Acts 9:1-2
God is far great than any of man’s bad intentions.
Saul continues to be a raging lunatic with an irrational anger towards Christians. He goes to the High Priest because he had the power to do something within the Jewish community. The High Priest gives him letters that make it alright for him to look for anyone who claimed to be a follower of Jesus Christ, or the Way, as it is described here, and bring them back to Jerusalem for a trial.
Men had bad intentions and ideas to harm other people, but God was far greater than that.
“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” – Acts 9:3-4
Saul goes out to gather up Christians when this light comes out of heaven and knocks him to the ground. Now, think about that for second. Every day, we have light in the sky. On nice clear day the sun is bright, yet most of us are not knocked to the ground because the sun is so bright. This must have been a sudden and overwhelming light.
Then add to it the voice calling out your name and it is sure to get your attention. God was showing himself to be far greater than any scheme of man.
Do people in the world today ever have bad intentions? Yes, but God is far greater than them and will accomplish His purposes no matter what their plans are.
In my life there have been many things that I have seen in the world where people have intended harm that have been turned around. Horrendous events in history don’t cause people to turn on God, they often cause people to turn to Him. In the midst of cancer and other heartache, God gets the glory. When innocent lives are taken, people look to God for comfort and some sort of foundation. This is how it should be.
My kids don’t understand how someone could hurt another person. They will wonder when they see news headlines, why things happen to people or why some people can be violent. My kids don’t handle the pain of others very well, which highlights their compassion. It also highlights something in all of us. At our core, we know that each life is valuable. I look at my children and am amazed at how wonderful they really are, as I am sure all parents do. Yet, so many people do things to harm others. None of that changes who God is and the way He is calling people to Himself. That is the beauty of His plans; they cannot fail.
*This post will be continued tomorrow.