It wasn’t the worship service that he had envisioned. The censers weren’t burning with sweet smelling incense. The songs of Zion weren’t being sung. Angry men shouting threatening words and cries of unruly mobs filled the streets. It did not resemble the stories he had been told. It did not meet his expectations. His hopes and dreams vanished as he looked upon the face of a bloody and beaten man.
Paul wrote in Philippians 1:12 “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel:”
Paul had suffered 195 stripes at the hands of the Jewish rulers. He had been beaten with rods on three different occasions. He had been stoned once – men hurling stones at him until his body was covered with a mound of rocks. He had been shipwrecked three different times. Paul had spent an entire day and night in the sea. He had been robbed. He had been stripped of all of his clothing. He had often gone without food or drink. But Paul penned the words “the things which happened…” – those unbearable, unthinkable things – “have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel:”
Jesus had been taken to the Praetorium. He had been robed in purple. A crown of thorns had been forced upon His head. He had been beaten, mistreated, and mocked. Finally, the Romans laid a heavy wooden cross upon His shoulders and marched Him toward His death.
He heard the words of the soldiers as they called out for him to pick up the cross, but his feet gripped cobbled road, unwilling to move. Crushed to the ground before was a man sentenced to death. He had come to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem. His grandfather, his father, all of the elders of Cyrene had spoken of the experience, the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
Abraham’s life had been interrupted by a baby. Noah had never intended on building a boat. Moses had gotten comfortable tending to sheep. Saul was looking for donkeys when his life was interrupted. David was merely checking on his brothers. Pentecost was nothing more than a prayer meeting that was interrupted.
What are you going to do with the things that have happened to you? Discouragement, fear, isolation, anxiety, loss of wages, uncertainty, disrupted plans, shattered dreams. What are you going to do with those things?
It was a shameful thing to carry a cross for a condemned man. It was embarrassing. It was messy. It wasn’t anything like attending the Passover celebration in Jerusalem. Simon the Cyrene’s plans had been interrupted. But in Acts 13:1 he is mentioned as one of the prophets and teachers of the New Testament. The interruption had been intentional. God was up to something.
Paul wrote the majority of the new testament. Isaac, Abraham’s son, was the beginning of an innumerable lineage. Noah, a preacher of righteousness, saved his family by building a boat. Saul was anointed King. David slew a giant. All because of interruptions.
God has knocked us off of our agenda. Our plans have changed and changed again. What God is doing in your life is no accident! Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Don’t allow the things that have happened to you to be wasted. It’s my prayer this week that God moves in your world in a very special way. Fear, discouragement, doubt, loss can in no way compare with what God has in store for you.
Love and Prayers,
Pastor Jack Smith
“God is coming back for His church. It’s the next big thing. Be ready. Read Acts 2:38”