The following night the Lord stood by him and said, "Take
On the one hand, perhaps Paul thought he was clever and getting away with something here. He caused a ruckus between the Pharisees and the Sadducees about belief in the resurrection from the dead. Then they started going after him! Then he's taken into protective custody and put in prison. Not so clever after all, eh?
What is amazing and wonderful are the words, "The following night the Lord stood by him and said, Take courage...." So, here is Paul beset by his enemies. His plans (I'm supposing) to deflect their criticism toward fighting among themselves just backfired and now these warring factions are coming after him. This is no time to get a mission from Jesus!
Remember the story of the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary? I'm sure most of us picture that as a sweet and serene scene. Mary is quiet and contemplating. Gabriel approaches with reverence. The birds sing merrily in the trees outside. Or even Gabriel speaking to Zacharias in the temple about his soon-to-be pregnant wife. While the message may be stern, yet, don't we picture this as one taken up in the midst of glory and reverence and awe? Think about the calls of the prophets...
Back to Paul: No glory. No reverence. No quiet and contemplation (jails aren't places of quiet). Just mayhem and the aftermath of chaos.
I find that I want to prepare myself to receive a mission from Jesus by creating a nice, comfy situation. I'm peaceful, quiet and serene. I'm sitting, meditating. Perhaps listening to quiet music. Cue the aromatherapy. Perhaps reading scripture. The birds are singing and I'm just there. I've chosen being over doing. And, now, Jesus, bring on your mission! I'm ready. Can't you see how much like Mary I am here? Quiet and contemplative. Peaceful.
As I look back on a very chaotic semester, I wonder if I missed the mission Jesus was giving to me because I was looking in the wrong place. How about you?
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