Christian Devotions

The Circuitous Route

Focus verses: Acts 27:1-28:15

Paul, although a Jew, was also born a Roman citizen. Therefore when he is put on trial, he appeals to Rome for justice. I don’t believe that he thinks the ultimate outcome will be any different than had he simply been tried in Jerusalem.

However, his journey takes him to places where he can spread the gospel by speaking and healing. A trial in Jerusalem would have changed some things.

A boatload of people, 276 in all, would not have been told that God had a plan for their lives.

The sick on Malta (we don’t know how many) would not have been healed.

How many lives were changed during this trip? We have no count. But can’t you imagine that the prophetic words of Paul changed at least one or two lives from the ship? How many lives were changed because the the people healed on Malta?

We may never know the count. But Paul’s presence there surely had some effect.

Then Paul himself was reassured when the faithful men from Rome came to meet him.

Paul has expended himself in doing good throughout the trip. He is refreshed by the sight and love of the brethren when he finally arrives at his destination.

God sometimes allows us to take the circuitous route in our lives. The shortest distance between two points may be a straight line, but it also touches the fewest places. If that line arcs, it touches more points. If you are going through something right now and wonder why God doesn’t just carry you through in a straight line, it may just be that He has a plan that your life will touch more people on the circuitous route.

People watch Christians through a magnified lens. As Christians, we are expected to be better, to do better, than all the rest of the world. When we go through trials, sometimes we are simply being an example of how to live with adversity.

A friend of mine is undergoing cancer treatment for a second time. I know this lady. She prays wherever she goes. She does all things with grace and equanimity. She touches lives with her love and prayers. I have no doubt that the cancer is actually gone. And I have no count of the lives she has touched with her encouragement and courageous example of faith.

But God knows. He knows who will stand and draw closer to Him in times of struggle. That visible lifeline between them and Him becomes a beacon to those seeking encouragement and security.

If you find yourself on a circuitous route, give thanks. He is using your trip for an eternal purpose.

Father, God,

Help us to see a larger picture than just the current difficulty we face. Grant us the vision to be faithful to You in all circumstances and to understand that we are not necessarily the focus of your purpose on this trip.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.
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