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Two Years Went By

Two Years Went By

26 October 2009

Scripture:

Two years went by in this way; then Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And because Felix wanted to gain favor with the Jewish leaders, he left Paul in prison. (Acts 24:27 NLT)

Paul spent two years in jail in Caesarea because the corrupt governor Felix hoped for a bribe to release him and because Felix was willing to deny the rights of an innocent man to please the Jews. That’s just not fair!

This was Paul the Apostle, called by God to take the Good News of the Kingdom of God to the whole world, sitting in a jail cell for two years at the whim of a dishonest bureaucrat, after being falsely accused by jealous Jews. That’s just not fair!

Life-lessons for me:

* Life isn’t always fair. Paul took it as it came and instead of being consumed by bitterness over the injustice of losing two years of freedom, he trusted in God, kept his spirit sweet, and made the best use of his time. Stay sweet!
* God’s sense of urgency and importance operates on a different time-scale than ours. Two years in the life of Paul, wasted? Not wasted! Trust God’s timetable!
* God had told Paul he would preach the gospel in Rome. He eventually traveled there at government expense in a prison-ship. He stayed there under house arrest. Not how he would have planned it. But he got there and he preached the gospel. If God says it’s going to happen, he has a plan to get it done!
* Paul was learning about prison ministry. The two years Paul spent in prison in Caesarea prepared him for his years in prison in Rome. The years in prison in Rome produced most of the New Testament. That changed Paul’s ministry impact from itinerant church-planter to centuries-long preserver of the faith. Sometimes God has bigger, longer-range things in mind. Trust him!

Prayer:

Father, help me to look beyond my immediate reaction to things. I am committed to your plan and purpose for my life. Help me to recognize your plan and timetable when I can and to simply trust you when I can’t understand why things are going as they are. Please give me grace to live a joy-filled life when things make sense and when it just isn’t fair! Amen.

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