3 And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. 5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. –Acts 28:3-5 (KJV)
The other day I was clearing grass and weeds along the fence line in the backyard. Suddenly, I experienced what felt like a needle piercing my thigh. I looked down and saw a yellow jacket on my leg. Before I could react, another stung me further down my leg and another got me on the hand. By then I was running away and brushing them off. I had been on my knees, but a bee sting will get you on your feet in a hurry. I was right beside a nest and did not know it and those yellow jackets were not pleased to see me.
There are countless people in the world that three bites from yellow jackets would prove fatal. Fortunately, I am not one of them. For Paul the Apostle, the snakebite he received went beyond immunity. The Lord watched over him, protected him, and God was going to lead Paul to his destination. God had a plan and as long as Paul was faithful, God would make it happen. The power of God in our lives remains and is active when we are faithful. God will work in our lives even when we are not faithful, but then it becomes a drawing back to His will. This is where life becomes very painful. Any believer who thinks life is hard now does not want to experience life out of God’s will. The Lord has ways of getting our attention. We are His, we belong to Him, and He will not let us go.
Recently, I was having a discussion with a few people from church on Proverbs 22:6, which speaks of training a child up in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. For a number of years a statistic has remained constant among young people who grow up in church. Seven out of ten will walk away from church after high school. This is across the board in all denominations. However, we hold to the promise of God that they will not depart from godly instruction. Something we are seeing, however, is a number of them coming back later on. Many young people reach their twenties and begin to see the need for the stability the church offers. Let us pray for them while they are away and let us be there to welcome them back. Like the father who welcomed the prodigal son with a ring, a robe, and a party with the fatted calf (Luke 15:22, 23), we should do likewise.
Just as Paul had faith and his faith brought the power of God in his life, so we too have faith and our faith brings the power of God into our lives. Walk forward in faith today and do not doubt.
God bless you.