God lifted these men from that exciting setting while the church was at its zenith, steaming full-bore. People were coming by the carload, deep needs were being met, souls were being saved, lives were being transformed, families were getting healthy, the place was electric! Still, the Spirit said, “It’s time for change.” Who would’ve ever imagined? But God is full of surprises, since He sees the big picture while we focus mainly on the here and now.
Insight for Today
Written by Chuck Swindoll, these encouraging devotional thoughts are published seven days per week.
Ministering together is always an adventure. It’s about embracing change. It’s about maintaining flexibility. It’s about walking with God through the surprising events He has designed. Barnabas needed help. The work was too much for one gifted but limited man. Saul stepped into the gap. And together they turned Antioch upside down for Christ.
I love Warren Wiersbe’s succinct definition of ministry: “Ministry takes place when divine resources meet human needs through loving channels to the glory of God.” Saul and Barnabas could have sat for that portrait. Why did Saul and Barnabas experience such pleasure in serving together? No competition. No battle of egos. No one threatened by the other’s gifts. No hidden agendas. No unresolved conflicts. Their single-minded goal was to magnify Christ.
Suffering is a delicate subject. It’s not easy to address because I realize I’m writing to people who have known a depth of suffering to which I have never gone. In no way do I wish to give the impression that I am a model of how to go through it. To be honest with you, I fail in my responses to adversity more than I succeed.
Remember that suffering is not new. In what is probably the oldest book in the Bible, the book of Job, we read, "For man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7). Now there's a statement we need to teach our children and grandchildren, starting today.
I need to underscore a foundational fact: God's goal is not to make sure you're happy. No matter how hard it is for you to believe this, it's time to do so. Life is not about your being comfortable and happy and successful and pain free.
Thankfully, in the midst of that suffering, He gently whispers, "My grace is sufficient for you" (v. 9). As with Paul, His grace supplies more than we need to endure whatever it is that threatens to undo us. Let me amplify that thought. His grace is more sufficient than your strength.
Sailors on the high seas understand the importance of securing themselves to something sturdy in a fierce gale. You learn to cling to what’s secure in a storm. Paul learned to cling to what he knew to be true about himself and the Lord who held him in His grip.
My desire is to help equip you for what life will inevitably sling across your path. I understand you may be bearing a burden or heartache, the likes of which I've never known.
I want to dispense a fresh supply of hope. To help accomplish that, let me suggest four principles. They may mean more to you later than now—in a time when God leads you to wait in the shadows.