WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME?

Have you ever thought you were in the wrong place?

Maybe you just feel like the timing of events in your life is somewhat off. You didn’t expect that situation to occur. It’s the wrong time!

You aren’t alone!

It is hard to reconcile the truth of our situation against the dream of where we wish we were. Sometimes even when we feel like we’re in the wrong place or circumstances are occurring at the wrong time, we are actually just where God wants us to be.

Consider the life of Saul of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia (Acts 21:39). If you don’t know him, you may recognize him as the Apostle Paul. He was a man who started out hating Jesus, then after an amazing and unexpected encounter, his life was changed forever!

We learn in his letter to the Philippians in 3:5 that Paul was a man who was raised to be a devout Jew. He was a Pharisee, and his father was a Pharisee. He was well educated by the Rabbi, Gamiliel (Acts 22:3). He was from the tribe of Benjamin, an Israelite, and a Roman citizen (Acts 22:25-27).

Paul was a devout man of God. Consequently he was zealous for the law of the Jews. Paul was so zealous he became a persecutor of Christians, delighting in finding them and sending them to their deaths. He believed he was doing his duty, and he did it well.

Then his life was changed while on the road to Damascus. He had an encounter with Jesus (Acts 9:5). From then on, Paul’s focus was on preaching about the forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ.  He taught people how to live their lives in a way that was acceptable to God.

Everywhere he went, he was met with resistance to the truth of Jesus being God’s Son. In some places he was stoned, but he survived. In others, he was beaten, arrested, and ultimately had to flee for his life. He suffered for the cause of Christ.  He experienced the torment he had given to the Christians. Finally he was imprisoned and sent to Rome to await an audience with Caesar.

Many would say Paul was finished. What could be done in prison? Why would God allow such a great Christian believer and teacher be subjected to such persecution? Many mourned the Apostle Paul’s imprisonment in Rome.

Yet, while in prison, Paul had a captive audience, for he was chained to a guard day and night. He was allowed visitors who came from far and wide to give reports on the churches that began as a result of his preaching.

Paul used his time to write letters to the churches at Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse, and Thessalonica. He also wrote letters to encourage specific believers: Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and a letter to the Hebrews. These letters form much of the New Testament in the Bible.

If Paul had remained free, he would most likely have continued to be persecuted wherever he preached. The man would have endured more beatings, deprivation, and mistreatment. He might have even been killed. I believe God positioned Paul exactly where he could best accomplish God’s will.

God places us where we can be used most effectively. We cannot know the reasons behind all that God does. However we can trust His sovereign will is sufficient reason to understand why things happen the way they do. Here is what Paul had to say about his situation:

 “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.  Unto me, who am less that the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:  To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,  According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:  In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,”    Ephesians 3:7-14 (KJV)

God doesn’t make mistakes. In fact, God offers us a life that is far more fulfilling than anything we could orchestrate for ourselves. Paul continues the thought with these words…

“Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Ephesians 3:15-19

If you are following Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, and are obeying His commands, then you are walking a path He has set for you, that is according to His ways and His will. You are not in the wrong place at the wrong time. You are exactly where He wants you to be!

 

Copyright 2014 Linda Hull

 

Inspirational writer and photographer.

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