Have you ever wondered what work you are called to do? I often wonder if I am listening to the Lord and doing his work or trying to do my own thing. When I am listening to the Lord, I have to slow down, pray and wait and move forward taking steps, not sure where these steps will lead me. This process goes against everything I have done in the past, planning out every step and detail and getting upset when my plan did not work perfectly. Even though my past approach did not make me happy, its still hard to change.
When my husband and I were selling our previous house, we felt like we needed to put the house on the market. We prayed about which agent to use and put the house on the market. We received an offer to buy the house and settle 2.5 months later. We accepted the offer, having no idea where we would move next. Would we rent? Would we buy? My husband was between jobs, so it was a very scary time for us. This difficult time made us trust in God or go crazy with worry. We prayed, waited and trusted. I was not the best at waiting, so I would read the bible to calm myself down. We had faith that God would give us a new house. My husband received a job offer, and we were approved for a loan. As soon as we were approved for the loan, a house came on the market, and I knew this would be our house. We looked at the house, and it had everything we wanted and needed. It was perfect for our family.
We waited and prayed trusting in the Lord, and God answered our prayers with a house and neighborhood better than we could have imagined. I think the process gets easier as you practice, or we just get more grace from God to follow his process. In the bible, Barnabas and Saul were “worshiping the Lord and fasting” when the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” They lived their lives to serve God, so when the Holy Sprit spoke to them. They left and went off. I cannot imagine picking up and leaving. There are so many things for my husband and I to plan and arrange, the house, kids, and work.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
–Acts 13:2-3 (NIV)
The two men followed the Holy Spirit and proclaimed God’s word. They were even sent a helper, John. They listened to God and followed his will without question, and God gave them what they needed.
The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.
–Acts 13:4-5 (NIV)
In Acts 9:1, Saul started his journey with “murderous thoughts” for the disciples, God flashed light in the sky and asked Saul why he persecuted him. God blinded him for 3 days. Saul converted to become a follower of Christ, and now he was spreading the word of God.
Now, in Acts 13, Saul is proclaiming the word of God. This journey highlights how Saul’s new love of God is in direct opposition of his former self. It is such a stark contrast. On this journey, an “intelligent” man, Sergius Paulus, sent for Barnabas and Saul to hear the word of God. Elymas the sorcerer “opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.” Saul “filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.” In Acts 9, The Lord blinded Saul for trying to harm his disciples and now in Act 13, the Lord uses Saul as a vessel for the Holy Spirit to blind Elymas the sorcerer for opposing the Lord. In each case, a new believer was created, previously Saul and now the proconsul. “When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.”
They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.”
Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
–Acts 13:6-12 (NIV)
God blinded the sorcerer. “Mist and darkness came over him, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.” Isn’t that how life feels when we turn away from God and try to do everything on our own? We are missing something and immediately seek help, because we can never be complete without God. God used a sorcerer to create another believer. God’s glory was shown through an evil person. When we follow the Lord, God can take the worst situation and turn it to his glory. We just have to trust in the Lord and let his glory shine through us.