Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."
Acts 5: 38-39
If you have ever said, “Yes!” to the call of God upon your life, you know that, that is only the beginning of the journey. The path from here to there is often filled with the unexpected; with the extra details that God didn’t reveal to you at the beginning, because if he had, you probably would have run away. Truthfully speaking, the work of the ministry, though fulfilling, is often hard and lonely. In fact, expect it to be so, for God promised both blessings and persecutions (Mark 10:30) to all who follow him. Daniel found himself in the lion’s den (Daniel 6:16), Joseph found himself in a dark pit (Genesis 37:24), Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3:21) found themselves in a fire. As for Jesus, you take your pick: The garden, The betrayal, The Cross? It is in discouraging moments like this, that quitting seems like a good alternative to the pain and suffering that comes upon Christians in the hard places of life.
In Acts 5:38-39, Peter and the other apostles find themselves in the valley, a tough spot (a hard place). Despite serving Jesus faithfully, they have been beaten and jailed. But instead of quitting, each time they are set free, they would go right back to doing what Jesus asked them to do. It is on one such occasion that Gamaliel, finally says, “… Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God (Acts 5:38-39)." How did they find the strength to go on with the work God had called them to do? Perspective. It’s always about perspective of who is in charge. To paraphrase one songwriter, “They knew whom they had believed and they were persuaded that he was able.…” Their internal compass pointed to “REST” no matter what the circumstances were. Peter and the other apostles had learned to rest in Jesus, in the good times and in the hard times. How about you?
Do you find yourself in a hard place? Are you floundering with indecision, not knowing what to do? Do you feel like the walls are closing around you? Are you worried about results? Then check your internal compass to make sure you are heading where it is pointing. It’s time to take a deep breath and rest in him. God is fully in control of your situation as he was with the situations that Peter, and the other apostles faced. All you have to do is show up, and he will do the rest in his time. So, pick yourself up, see Him as he is, Mighty and triumphant over each and every situation you are facing or could ever face. Get back to doing what he has called you to do and let him handle the rest. He alone is the God of the mountains and the God of those valleys that threaten you and he will finish what he has started (Philippians 1:6) in you.
Loving God, Gracious Master forgive me for approaching your work as though I am in charge. Take the reins, I relinquish control as I take my rest in you. Have your own way Lord. Amen.