Today’s Reading: Acts 28
God can make something RIGHT out of all of our WRONG. When we make a mess out of our lives by making our own decisions or doing our own thing, God is there to help us through the “shipwreck” we have created (see yesterday’s Morning Coffee). He takes this unplanned situation in our lives, the result of our sin, and makes something good out of it. We have stepped out of His will, but He is willing to display His handiwork if only we will put the broken pieces in His hands to fix. We let go and let God make something wonderful out of our mistakes and sin.
They had no plans to go to the island of Malta. When they left for Rome, the captain of the ship, the owner of the boat and the officer in charge ignored Paul’s warning that shipwreck, loss of cargo and danger to the lives of all on board were ahead if they left this late in the Fall. But they did their own thing, trusting in their own strength and knowledge, and they found themselves in the middle of a storm. When their ship fell apart, they all made it safely to the shore of the island of Malta – not their plan, but God is never without a plan and a purpose.
Praise God! He takes our wrong directions and creates a right destination. Why? Because He intends to make something good out of all the bad. Some decisions we make have consequences – “shipwrecks”. God is able to forgive us, stay by our side as we experience the results of our sin and still use our lives to impact others in a positive way. That is what happened on the island of Malta.
Once we were safe on shore, we learned that we were on the island of Malta. The people of the island were very kind to us. It was cold and rainy, so they built a fire on the shore to welcome us.
As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit him on the hand. The people of the island saw it hanging from his hand and said to each other, “A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live.” But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed. The people waited for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw that he wasn’t harmed, they changed their minds and decided he was a god. – Acts 28:1-6
Unfortunately, our mistakes and messes often have an audience. Even well-meaning Christians fail us and sit back expecting to see us crash and burn. There is only one audience we should concern ourselves with – God. Forgive them. Let God work on their hearts and stay focused on Him. He may even use what He makes out of your life to draw them to Himself. Don’t concern yourself with what they say or how they judge. Keep your eyes on God so that He can use you however He intends.
Near the shore where we landed was an estate belonging to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us and treated us kindly for three days. As it happened, Publius’s father was ill with fever and dysentery. Paul went in and prayed for him, and laying his hands on him, he healed him. Then all the other sick people on the island came and were other sick people on the island came and were healed. As a result we were showered with honors, and when the time came to sail, people supplied us with everything we would need for the trip. – Acts 28:7-10
God is so good! They were not even supposed to be on the island of Malta. God took their shipwreck and made great things out of the wreckage. Consider the lives of all the people on Malta that were changed forever because of Paul’s time on the island. Consider those who experienced the storm and shipwreck firsthand – the other prisoners, officers, crew – they were never the same. God provided for their safe journey on to Rome through the people of the island who had been touched by God through their time there.
In November of 2013, a tornado destroyed a large portion of our community, skipping across Tazewell County. Homes were destroyed and families were displaced. Block after block was leveled. From the wreckage of the tornado, artists pulled out pieces of debris and created gorgeous art pieces and furniture. What a great reminder that something beautiful can come from even the most devastating of experiences.
God can take a consequence of our sin…
God can take a bad decision made out of our own self-reliance…
God can take a storm we are experiencing…
God can take our shipwreck…
AND make something really wonderful out of it! God isn’t done with us when we mess us. He can MAKE THINGS RIGHT out of our wrong. He is not done with us. He has only begun.