By Lisa Huddleston
Pastor Jim read the 26th chapter of Acts for yesterday’s sermon and focused on three primary points:
- God calls us to testify on behalf of the Gospel
- Christian faith is both true and rational
- Christian faith reorders our priorities by putting God first, then others next, and finally ourselves last.
They were good points, and as always I took notes and pondered my own thoughts throughout the message. Yes, I am prone to ponder—Lord, I feel it. I have lots of questions and sometimes wish I could raise my hand and ask, “Why?” Instead I satisfy myself by writing why or a big old question mark in the margin of my Bible.
Yesterday there were a couple of whys that caught my attention, and although I know I could pull out concordances and word studies, I think I’m just going to ponder freely.
First, when he is telling his conversion story why does Paul add the information that he heard “a voice speaking to me in the Hebrew language?” (vs.14). Does the language help to clarify that it really was Jesus who was speaking to him—in the Aramaic dialect as other translations note—rather than Greek or any other language? Is this detail included in order to point to Jesus? Maybe so.
And consider verse 16: “But get up and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a witness of things you have seen, and of things in which I will appear to you.” What did Jesus mean in that last phrase? How would he appear to Paul in future “things?” Jesus continues that he will, “Rescue [Paul] from the people and from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (vs.17-18). If I were Paul, I would have been asking, “What things, Lord? Why will I need to be rescued? How will I know you when you appear to me?”
I’m sure I would (and do) try God’s patience many times a day. But prone to ponderers are also prone to askers!
One statement that I jotted in my notebook Sunday stands out to me. “The question ‘Why?’ leads us to the question ‘Who?’” If I’m going to have a chance in—well you know where—of receiving true answers to my questions, I’m going to have to bring them to the only one who can possibly know the truth: the Author and promised Finisher of my faith. Please, keep working on me, Lord, and help me to be satisfied with the Who even when my Whys sometimes get in the way.