Daily D – Acts 24:27
After two years went by in this way, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And because Felix wanted to gain favor with the Jewish people, he left Paul in prison. ACTS 24:27 (NLT)
My bride and I are on vacation. Instead of work yesterday, we took a golf lesson, ate some of our favorite pizza for lunch and Mexican food for dinner. We shopped for clothing to help shield us from the harmful rays of the sun. She took a nap. We watched a movie after dinner and read for a bit before bedtime. It was a good day. Today will look a lot like it.
I like a good, long vacation.
Two years is a long vacation. Too long. This is especially true if you are confined to one place with a small group of friends and acquaintances. What do you do when you have napped all you can nap? What do you do when you have read all there is to read? What do you do when you and your companions have no more stories to tell?
“Did I ever tell you about the time, . . .”
“Oh. Well, I think I will take another nap.”
Apparently, Paul wrote some letters between prayers and naps. Among them may have been what we know as Philemon, Colossians, and Ephesians. Paul’s friends came and went (v. 23) giving him an opportunity to continue teaching, training, and discipling leaders who did the same thing with others.
At the same time, two years meant a twenty-four-month delay in getting where he was going. Paul had read enough travel brochures. He wanted to see the sights of Rome for himself. He wanted to experience the journey, the arrival, the opportunity to declare the good news in the heart of the Empire. He wanted to plant seeds which would flourish and one day see that pagan city become the center of Christian life for the whole world.
He dreamed, he prayed, he wrote, he taught, and he waited.
In the movie Silverado, Jake and Paden break out of jail. As they stand in front of the jailhouse Paden asks, “What do we do now?” Jake responds, “We wait.” Then he immediately says, “Let’s go.” Sometimes when we wait there is no “Let’s go.” Or if we do go, we step off the path God laid out for us. This is not an improvement over waiting, trust me.
God said wait, so Paul waited. For two whole years. Four walls. A few faithful friends. Limited correspondence. Repeated conversations. A lot of praying and wondering and planning. And so we sit home on a holiday weekend on vacation with only short excursions to exciting places like Kroger and Walmart. We wear our masks and wash our hands and sanitize everything. And we wait.
Waiting, a little secret here, is renewing. The King James Version of Isa. 40:31 says, “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.”
The Message paraphrases it this way: “But those who wait upon GOD get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.”
Waiting is restoring and renewing and refreshing. It reminds us of Psalm 23:2, 3:
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
Good things, God things, come to those who wait upon the Lord. Get good at waiting.
I will wait on God because his timing is perfect and he is renewing my strength.
Our Father, you are worth waiting on. Your timing is perfect. Your strength is limitless. I require renewal and refreshing. Empower me in these days of preparation for the great adventures ahead. I will follow you even when you appear from my perspective to be standing still. Amen.
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Ruth 1:20, 21 “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (CSB)