Grace For The Journey
The Bible says in Acts 14:20b-21, “And the next day He (Paul) departed with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and made many disciples, the returned to Lystra …”
God sent the apostle Paul, and his companion Barnabas, to Lystra to preach the Gospel there. In Lystra a man, who had been crippled from birth, was healed by the power of God. The crowds thought the gods had come down from heaven in the likeness of Paul and Barnabas, and they called Barnabas “Zeus” and Paul “Hermes.” Paul and Barnabas would not receive their praise and worship and quickly corrected their misunderstanding (Acts 14:1-17).
But the episode does not stop there. While they were there, some of the Jews who rejected the Gospel of Christ arrived from Antioch and stirred up the crowd to stone Paul; they dragged him out of the city and left him for dead. Miraculously, Paul was alive and well the next day. He and Barnabas left for Derbe to preach and teach (Acts 14:19-20).
Then something very strange happened. They went back to Lystra! Why? Because God had called them back to learn the lessons of Lystra. I want to look at two of the lessons that God ordained for Paul and Barnabas to learn.
Lesson #1. Learn from every defeat
Rarely do we learn much when the sky is blue, the clouds are fluffy, and the sun is brightly shining. More often than not, God’s deep teachings will only be learned on the other side of a devastating difficulty or defeat in life. So we must seek to find the lesson in every defeat, letting it shape and mold us into the person God is calling us to be.
Lesson #2. Return to some defeats
Sometimes God calls us to return to a place where we experienced defeat because He intends to turn that defeat into a divine victory. This is not an easy thing for the natural man to do! When we are defeated, we would rather learn the lesson – or just forget about it as quickly as possible – and get on with life.
But there are times when God has determined to take us above and beyond a lesson learned and to turn that devastating defeat into a divine deliverance. When that happens, we need to remember the words our Lord, “With man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
That is the lesson that God gave Paul and Barnabas;
But in order to understand it,
They had to learn to think supernaturally rather than naturally.
Think back to the last time God determined that you should return to some particular difficulty or defeat, rather than simply learn from it . . .
- A heated argument with a loved one?
- A broken relationship that needed to be made whole?
- A stronghold that became a stranglehold on you?
When you encounter these trials, it may very well be that God has ordained that the lesson learned will not lift you high enough. Rather, you must return to rise above that defeat in order to receive the victory that is only possible with God.
Return with a humble heart.
Return with a yielded spirit.
Return, despite the threat of a “second stoning,” knowing that God is with you every step of the way . . . just as He was with Paul and Barnabas.
Take to heart the wonderful promise of God in Psalm 37:3, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.”
My prayer is that you will feed on the faithfulness of God this day as you consider the lessons of Lystra.
This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”