Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, but Saul [Paul] learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.” Acts 9: 23-25 (NIV)
His friends came to him in the middle of the night. They had heard of the plans to destroy him. They had heard the vitriolic rhetoric from the leaders of the day. They read the headlines of the Jerusalem Crier, the local tabloid of the day, calling for Paul’s elimination. They could hear the very stones in the street crying out in tones both unkind and damning.
The Apostle Paul was just three years on the job, yet it seemed as though his demise was imminent. Times were tough; the leaders of the day were after him and no matter where he seemed to turn he found himself facing struggles and troubles. And now it seemed as though the end was near—he was at the end of his options. But then his friends—concerned about what may happen to him—came to him in the middle of the night and lowered him in a basket to his safety through an opening in the wall, bypassing the city gate where the people were waiting to capture and execute him.
The Apostle Paul, an outspoken spokesman for Christ and a voice for right in the days of so long ago—not at all too dissimilar to the days to which we awake today—was rescued by a trusted few and delivered to a place of safety and a new platform to continue to speak out for right in the world around him.
My bride, Lynda, put it another way a number of years ago for me, through her talent for counted cross-stitch. I was three years into the practice of law and had just opened my own law office, and was unsure of what the future held as I struck out on my own. Upon arriving at the office early one morning, I found sitting on my desk a framed labor of love—a counted cross-stitch tapestry picturing a mouse hanging in the air from a rope, apparently clinging desperately to his last hope, a knot tied at the end of the rope, saving him from what seemed to be an impending fall.
The words stitched along-side the caricature depicting the uncertainties of life I was feeling at that particular time, were words I would embrace many times in the years ahead—when all the rhetoric, headlines and the very stones in the street, and at times my own personal doubt, seemed to forecast my demise…
“When you get to the end of your rope…tie a knot and hang on!”
Paul and I both needed deliverance from the stranglehold of difficulties, persecutors, doubters and self-doubts facing us in the jobs which lay before us. We needed and found, in the midst of what seemed like—at least for me—a free-fall at times, that we were undergirded by those who cared and those who would help to deliver us to a place of solid ground and freedom. We were reminded that in the blinding glare of all that we faced that somewhere there was an opening, somewhere there was a place to cling to, and somewhere there were those who cared, and who would help to deliver us through an opening we couldn’t see at the moment into the warm and welcoming sunshine of a brand new day of hope.
I don’t know what you’re facing today. I don’t know how long you’ve been facing it. I don’t know the disappointments or heartaches you hold close. I don’t know the failures or shortcomings you’ve experienced and can’t seem to get beyond. I’ll bet there are times when you can’t even see past the glare of problems shining in your eyes, out into the light of a brand new day which is always before you. But I do know that for you and for me, there is someone who cares and whom God will use to deliver you through an opening in all the stuff and turmoil you face. Somewhere there is someone whom God will use to help you to hang onto the knot tied at what may seem at the moment to be the end of your rope.
So no matter what’s going on in your life, wait just a moment longer. Look around and you’ll see them—someone who cares to help you to see and find the opening that is there into a brand new day. And you’ll also see the knot, so hang on.
And while you’re doing that, be comforted again with the words of Paul, shared years later to his beloved Timothy, while Paul was remembering his own earlier experience of deliverance from his troubles of those days…
“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His Heavenly Kingdom. To Him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
II Timothy 4: 18 (NIV)
And He will.
Just something for us to remember, embrace and cling to today and every day for the rest of our lives, and throughout all eternity.
In His Name—Scott