28 When we were safe on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The people of the island were unusually kind. It was raining and cold. So they built a fire and welcomed all of us. 3 Paul gathered some sticks and put them on the fire. A poisonous snake was driven out by the heat. It fastened itself on Paul’s hand. 4 The people of the island saw the snake hanging from his hand. They said to one another, “This man must be a murderer. He escaped from the sea. But the female god Justice won’t let him live.” 5 Paul shook the snake off into the fire. He was not harmed. 6 The people expected him to swell up. They thought he would suddenly fall dead. They waited for a long time. But they didn’t see anything unusual happen to him. So they changed their minds. They said he was a god. 7 Publius owned property nearby. He was the chief official on the island. He welcomed us to his home. For three days he took care of us. He treated us with kindness. 8 His father was sick in bed. The man suffered from fever and dysentery. So Paul went in to see him. Paul prayed for him. He placed his hands on him and healed him. 9 Then the rest of the sick people on the island came. They too were healed. 10 The people of the island honored us in many ways. When we were ready to sail, they gave us the supplies we needed.
The story of the snake grabbed my attention. The lens you look at life through so impacts the way you read the events happening around you. Here Paul gets bitten by a deadly snake. His lens is one of faith and a certainty of God’s bigger plans for him – he sees this as simply an interruption so he shakes the snake off! The people watching have the lens of crime and punishment. Harsh gods who would send a deadly snake because Paul must be wicked, then, when he shakes it off and suffers no harm, that same lens says he must be a god.
God wants to shift our lens to always be one of faith, focused on his bigness. He wants me to be so confident in my call, and his plan for me that I don’t let anything distract me – so I recognise the enemy and shake him off. He also wants people to know that He is the healer, and so Paul gets the chance to show that prayer to the one true God is the only way to true healing.
Father, I know that you are the one who holds my life in your hands and you are the miracle worker. Give me wisdom and faith to shake off anything that would seek to derail your plans in and through me. Amen
Written by Rosie Walker