8 In Lystra there sat a man who couldn’t walk. He hadn’t been able to use his feet since the day he was born. 9 He listened as Paul spoke. Paul looked right at him. He saw that the man had faith to be healed. 10 So he called out, “Stand up on your feet!” Then the man jumped up and began to walk. 11 The crowd saw what Paul had done. They shouted in the Lycaonian language. “The gods have come down to us in human form!” they exclaimed. 12 They called Barnabas Zeus. Paul was the main speaker. So they called him Hermes. 13 Just outside the city was the temple of the god Zeus. The priest of Zeus brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates. He and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas. 14 But the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard about this. So they tore their clothes. They rushed out into the crowd. They shouted, 15 “Why are you men doing this? We are only human, just like you. We are bringing you good news. Turn away from these worthless things. Turn to the living God. He is the one who made the heavens and the earth and the sea. He made everything in them. 16 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17 But he has given proof of what he is like. He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven. He gives you crops in their seasons. He provides you with plenty of food. He fills your hearts with joy.” 18 Paul and Barnabas told them all these things. But they had trouble keeping the crowd from offering sacrifices to them. 19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium. They won the crowd over to their side. They threw stones at Paul. They thought he was dead, so they dragged him out of the city. 20 The believers gathered around Paul. Then he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.
Wow! How things can change in a few short hours! One minute, Paul & Barnabas are the flavour of the month, the next minute they are being
stoned and run out of town. I bet they didn’t see that coming! But God did. This passage reminds me that
nothing is a surprise to God, even if it is a surprise to me. Even though Paul was near death, God brought him back again and Paul continued on his way. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Rom 8:28)
Lord, help me to remember that you are all-knowing. Help me to remember that even if something unexpected comes up in my life, that is a surprise to me, it is not a surprise to you. Help me to remember that you have me and the whole situation “covered”.
Written by Ps. Jen Irving