I’ve been attending a Bible study this year on my favorite book of the Bible – Acts. It begins with the resurrected Jesus promising the apostles that they will receive the Holy Spirit and be his witnesses in Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. It ends with Paul under house arrest, guarded by a soldier, but still committed to boldly sharing the gospel.
I love reading Paul’s story of radical conversion from someone persecuting the faith into a devout follower of Jesus. A few years after his conversion, he travels on missionary journeys to fulfill Christ’s call on his life – to spread the gospel to the gentiles.
Paul endured many hardships and his ministry plans were interrupted multiple times. I have admired his confidence and perseverance throughout whatever he faced. Every time something went wrong or a trial came, he was consistently intentional to witness for Jesus and preach the gospel.
One of the study questions for my Bible study lesson this week is “How might God use your unexpected events or changes in plans to benefit others?”
When I read this question, it really hit me how timely and fitting this question is in relation to our current circumstances with the COVID-19 pandemic. (These study questions were planned months in advance.) Talk about life being interrupted!
This question helped me to pause, take a step back, and look at the big picture. It reminded me of my goals during this time to count my blessings, be grateful for what I have and look for ways to help others.
Paul stayed focused on his mission every time something changed his plan. God used these interruptions to benefit others because they heard the gospel from Paul.
This crisis we are facing is changing our normal routines – but how can we use the change of pace to benefit others? Some ideas that came to mind are the acts of kindness we are seeing in our community. Neighbors helping neighbors. Families making pictures and notes of encouragement for residents living in nursing homes. Telling an unbelieving friend who is afraid about how Jesus has impacted our life. Praying fervently for those who are on the front lines – healthcare workers and first responders. Praying for those who are very sick and helping their families. Praying for those who are out of work. And like Paul, taking every opportunity – even when we are interrupted – to share the gospel.
May we allow God to work through this major interruption in our lives for the benefit of others.