Get Right Back In There
In the men’s bible study this morning, we looked at the 5th chapter of Acts. In it, the apostles are arrested by the high priest and thrown into prison because they keep talking about Jesus in the temple and surrounding areas. They’ve been told NOT to talk about Jesus there, and as his witnesses, they can’t help but speak of what they’ve seen and heard (4:20). Then, something amazing happens: an angel breaks them out of prison and tells them to “Go, stand in the temple courts, and tell the people all about this new life.” (5:20) And as soon as they could, they go back into the temple and do exactly what the angel told them to do.
It’s an amazing little detail: God sent them to be witnesses – right back into the exact place that caused them trouble.
How many times do we encounter trouble, dirty looks, challenges, pain, difficulty, and decide ‘enough is enough’? The ‘you-know-what’ hits the fan, and we go the other way. We get knocked down, and we vow never to go back there.
Maybe, though, it is back into EXACTLY that place that God is sending you to be his witness.
This thought this morning, along with the fact that Friday is St. Patrick’s Day, made me remember something that has always stood out to me about St. Patrick.
Here’s what stands out for me about St. Patrick: he was British, captured by the Irish when he was 16, lived as a slave in Ireland for 6 years – and then after he escaped,
God sent him back into exactly THAT place to be a missionary.
Take some time to read his story here and here. It’s amazing. (Have you ever read the story and history of St. Patrick? Did you know that St. Patrick was an amazingly bold missionary (witness!) for Christ? It’s kind of awesome that one of our biggest national holidays is to celebrate a missionary!)
He brought the Gospel to Ireland: back into the exact place that he lived and suffered as a slave for years.
Amazing. Amazing what God can (and does) do through us when we are willing to listen to his call, and step back into the places that cause us trouble and pain.
God sends us – and uses us – sometimes powerfully in the exact place, exact situation, and exact people that we experience the most difficulty from.