At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah. Acts 9:20-22
I recently had the realization that when I am speaking at conferences, around friends or teaching Bible studies it puts me in touch with those who are at least seeking the Lord. However, on a recent trip to visit extended family, that I only see every 7 or 8 years, I was reminded that there are still so many who are not even close to serving, much less seeking our Lord.
At first, I found myself discouraged. I began to wonder how in the world the Lord would ever penetrate the hearts of these people who I loved, but obviously had no desire to learn, seek or love this amazing Savior who I know died for them on the cross. Then, I remembered the story of Saul in Acts. A man who hated Jesus and spent every waking hour of his life persecuting Christians and all they believed, but the risen Jesus revealed himself to Saul. Finally, he believed and became one of the most outspoken and fearless preachers for Christ.
When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him. When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. Acts 9:26-30
So what does this mean for us, for family and all those in our lives that we feel like all hope is lost? It means there is hope. Hope for all of us. God can work amazing things in us, through us and for us even when we aren’t asking him to (someone else may be asking for us). The question we should ask is, “What do we know?” We know: our God is sovereign, His ways are not our ways, He is above all things, His love endures forever, He died for every person who has walked, is walking and will walk this planet and He will reign forever! When we focus on what we KNOW, then all the things that seem impossible become possible.
In our God, there is hope! Always!