I think wise King Solomon summed it up best in Ecclesiastes 3:11 when he wrote, “God has set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” We can’t begin to know the mind of God, or even start to grasp His majesty and power. We can only trust in His love and faithfulness towards us and walk in obedience…knowing He is in control of every detail of our life. For nothing happens to us that hasn’t already passed through God’s hands.
The biggest trap Believers fall into is complacency…especially if we’ve been a Christian for years. Our spiritual life has become very comfortable because we’ve picked and chosen bits and pieces of the Gospel that suit us. Our life in Christ has slowly become all about us – not others. We’ve become self-satisfied, tepid Christians with no enthusiasm to reach the lost…no thirst to get into His Word…no eagerness to share the Gospel. Complacency means we’re satisfied with the status quo, confident in our own salvation, but not really interested in anyone else. No wonder in this Scripture God is ready to spit lukewarm Christians out of His mouth…they have lost their first love…their zeal…their spiritual fervor. And to Him, they are worthless.
We hope that we’re honoring God during the Church Service, or when we’re praying for someone in the hospital. But this Scripture tells us that we need to be showing respect to God in everything we do. For if you think about it…all aspects of our lives are ordained by His hand. That includes the mundane and boring, and the simple day-to-day tasks we take for granted. That’s because we never know when He’ll take a practical chore and turn it into a divinely assigned God moment.
Earlier in this Chapter, Jesus told Peter what the future held for him. But Peter wouldn’t let well enough alone…He now wanted to know what was in store for John also. This is when Jesus firmly reminded him that it was none of his business and Peter must focus his attention his own personal walk…not meddle into other’s. Sometimes we like to “help” God, when in fact, we’re actually interfering with His plan for other people’s lives. We think we know more than Him…but that’s when we usually get into trouble! From that fateful day at the Sea of Galilee when Jesus walked up to Peter and his brother Andrew casting their fishing nets…Jesus’s directive to Peter had not changed…”Follow Me!” He said. “Keep your eyes focused on Me and not others.”
Elsewhere, Isaiah talks about God making the rough ground level, (Isaiah 40:4) and safely leading the Believer along unfamiliar paths, (Isaiah 42:16). If we allow Him, the Lord will make the crooked, straight…the rough, smooth…and the misunderstood, grasped. Our way in this life is a constant journey on a little understood, bumpy path…where we are required to make decisions that can affect our life forever. But when we allow the Lord to guide us…He will show us the most excellent way to go.
Earlier in the day, Paul and Silas had been stripped, severely flogged and then thrown into prison. So we now find them hours later holding their own praise and worship service to a rather captive audience of fellow prisoners and guards. They could have wallowed in their sorrow and pain, but instead chose to worship God. When we praise God in the midst of impossible situations, the atmosphere changes and with it, our attitude. Our eyes are taken off the incurable, the grief-stricken, the hopeless dilemma…and allows God to work in miraculous ways. It says here that the earthquake caused all the prison doors to open…not just the one to Paul and Silas’s cell, and that everybody’s chains came off…not just theirs. When our focus is on praise rather than on self-pity, everyone around us will be blessed.
For many, life has been hard. Years have been lost to bad choices, addictions, and the consequences caused by other people’s decisions. We can’t but feel that our life has been robbed of time. But the Lord is telling us in this Scripture that He will completely fulfill those lost years…allowing us to reclaim the happiness and contentment…the peace and security that we thought we’d never have again. For He is the God of redemption – accomplishing the impossible, and bringing to pass the unimaginable in our lives.