God Will Work It Out…Count On It!
Acts 15:39-41, “And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.”
In the world of blogging a good title can make all the difference. That is one lesson that I have come to learn during the past two years. Ultimately, nothing can displace or replace actual content. If the blog is no good, then it’s no good. No amount of creative graphics or clever titles will make up for bad content. But, aside from that, a good title has tremendous impact. As a writer (particularly in the arena of the internet) you understand that your title is like bait on the hook. You have a few seconds at most to capture the attention of your casual reader. Sink the hook or the fish will swim. Grab ‘em or lose ‘em. There is just too much out there that is competing for their attention.
Originally I wanted to entitle this blog, “No Matter The Mistake, No Matter The Failure, No Matter The Initial Setback, God Is Able To Take Even The Worst Of Situations And Work It All Together For the Good.” Yes. I will be the first to admit it. Probably a little lengthy. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. However, it does capture the point of this blog.
From all appearances it did not look like the second missionary journey was going to succeed. It certainly was not off to a very good start. Just consider the circumstances. The plan was devised with a heavy reliance on human reasoning. No mention whatsoever of divine guidance, prayer or the Holy Spirit (key elements of the first trip). The two leaders, Paul and Barnabas, couldn’t reach an agreement regarding the choice of an assistant for the expedition. Barnabas wanted to take John Mark. Paul wanted to leave him behind. In the end the disagreement became so sharp the two men decided to split up. So, rather than heading off together as originally planned, they separated and took off in opposite directions. What a foundation! Human wisdom. No prayer. Division. And separation. Not exactly what many people would call a “recipe for success.”
And yet, what happens next is simply remarkable to me. It’s just one more evidence that Romans 8:28 is indeed true. God does indeed, “cause all things to work together for the good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” In spite of everything that had just occurred, God continues to use the 3 men involved in this passage. Amazing! Yes, they had all made mistakes. Yes, they had all failed and fallen short. Yes, they had all gotten it wrong. But in the end, God’s plans and purposes were greater than their weaknesses and frailties. Even when they had made a mess of things God was still able to work it all out for good. All 3 men continue to be used by God. All 3 men continued to serve faithfully. And all 3 men continue to appear in the Bible. Why? because of their virtue and merits? No. Because God is gracious and faithful. Even during those times when we and our actions are faithless and far from perfect.
I don’t know about you but that truth gives me tremendous comfort and hope. Speaking for myself, I tend to make a mess of most things. I still get it wrong most days. I fail. I fall short. I miss the mark. I make the wrong choices. I do the wrong things. I say the wrong things. But I have a God who causes all things (think about that…ALL THINGS) to work together for the good. My current situation? Yes. My need? Yes. My pain? Yes. My disappointments? Yes. My mistakes? Yes. My failures? Yes. My shortcomings? Yes. My sin? Yes. ALL THINGS!!! He is able to work it out. He did it for Paul. He did it for Barnabas. He did it John Mark. And guess what? He can and will do it for you. God will work it out…count on it!