Monday, May 4, 2009

Snake Bites

I have been reading of Paul's missionary journeys, found in the book of Acts. I am so encouraged by a portion found in chapter 28. At this point, Paul was a prisoner awaiting trial for preaching Christ. He and others were in the process of being transported by ship to Rome in order that they might appear before Caesar. Paul related God's warning that the voyage would end in disaster. But it took many days, and devastating winds, for the crew to eventually listen. When we reach chapter 28 they have been shipwrecked on the island of Malta with all 276 lives spared.

So try to picture this: for close to a month they have been in the process of sailing to Rome. They have faced weeks of difficulty--winds gusting, waves pounding, cargo lost. Now they have wrecked on an unknown island and swam to shore. They are cold, soaking wet, and lost. Thankfully the natives showed great kindness and helped build a fire for warmth. Do you know what happened next? Paul was attacked by a viper. The snake hung from his hand until he shook the creature off into the flames.

Are you kidding me?! After all of that now he gets bit by a snake?! Come on!

The natives thought he would swell up and die. But when he showed no signs of harm they believed he must be a god. He cleared that one up and pointed them to Jesus.

So what is my point? We should all take up snake charming? No. My point is that we are not at the mercy of snake bites. We as God's children are not at the mercy of this world and the enemy's attempts to destroy. If you have accepted the sacrifice of Jesus, then God calls you His own. He has sealed you with His Spirit--giving you power to overcome. As you start pursuing God and His will, proclaiming His goodness and mercy, the enemy will attack. The Bible says that he is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. But praise God, we are not at the mercy of snake bites.

Though it might sting a little--even a lot--when we are attacked by various things, our God is bigger. What the enemy intends for evil, God can use for good--for His glory. What is our job? Trust and obey. If you are His, then trust that He is working. Don't live in despair. Preach truth to your spirit and then obey His commands. Believe that He is able to turn a snake bite into an opportunity to bring His name glory. He is worth it, friend. He is good.

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