Monday, June 20, 2016

The Macedonian Call

In Acts 16, Paul has a dream in which a man is pleading for him to come to Macedonia. In verse 10, Paul says he could only assume "God was calling us to preach the Good News there." (NLT) And they left immediately for the journey.

Once they got to Macedonia, there was good; and there was bad. They met Lydia - a true blessing. And then they met a deomon-possessed fortune teller who taunted them. When she came to know the Lord, her masters knew the loss of revenue they would suffer and caused a huge uprising against Paul and Silas and they were wrongly accused and tossed in a jail cell.

Of course, God worked even that out for good as when they praised Him from that dark, prison cell, He loved it so much He joined in with them! The earth began to respond when earth's praise met heaven's joy and everything started shaking and they were set free and many people were saved.

In light of the good that came out of that - it's interesting what Paul said about their Macedonian trip.  In 2 Corinthians 7:5, Paul says this: When we arrived in Macedonia there was no rest for us. Outside there was conflict from every direction, and inside there was fear.

What? THE Apostle Paul said that? When so much good was going on and so many were coming to know the Lord? Yes. Even though we have no record of his emotional journey to Macedonia, he reveals his fears to his readers later on. I'd have to say that in many ways as a caregiver, I feel conflict on every side and fear inside. A lot.

The next verse in 2 Corinthians 7 though says this: But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus. We need more Tituses. Most of us in a caregiving position are not going to be blessed with a Titus, a fellow believer, who will come and encourage us today. But God is faithful and He's creative too - He will find a way to bring encouragement.

For me today, it was in finding the lyrics to a song I wrote back in 1988. Here are the lyrics:

Macedonia
When I fail at life's little problems
You are there.
When I feel like I failed the test,
You still care.
No matter how low I feel I go,
You're still there.

All the problems all the cares of Life
Don't change the truth 
You're still there.
Nothing depletes Your strength and power
For nothing can change your love
You still care.

Even in the darkest night
There's nothing to compare
For it's all broken up...by Your light.
The strongest night can't take away the truth
You're still there.
(C) November 29,1988 J Olinger

I have no idea what I might have been going through at the time. But now I know that there were many dark days in between then and today. I had not yet faced the darkest night of my soul. But two phrases stuck out to me last night when I came across this yellowed paper. One - nothing depletes Your strength and power and the other one - the strongest night can't take away the truth.

I have rolled those over and over in my mind since I found this sheet of paper. I have to say, it's stood the test of time. He is still strong and on the throne - my situation did not dictate His removal! And no matter how dark the nights may have been - His truth still stands. My situation has no bearing on the truth - His truth is still the truth.

Today I am going to meditate on these two phrases. And I'm going to rejoice in the fact that even if I live in Macedonia, (fears within/conflict without) His truth, strength and power are not only unaffected by it - but He continuously perfects them in me. I'll think about how His strength is made perfect, mature, and complete in my weaknesses. And I'll smile, because I feel so very weak - and I'll yield all of that to Him to work with today - will you join me?

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