Sunday, December 7, 2008

malta is beautiful this time of year~

One morning I was reading about the apostle Paul. I had not realized that he had a big ministry plan to travel to Spain to share about Christ there(Romans 15:24&28). But, while in Jerusalem he was arrested and after many trials eventually he was sent to Rome to stand trial before Caesar. I thought about how this was certainly a distraction to his plans for Spain. As I read I learned that while sailing to Rome his ship was caught in a hurricane of sorts and wrecked upon the little island of Malta (Acts 28:1). I wondered about how distracted and delayed he must have felt from his plans for Spainhmmm….maybe God had other plans for Paul.

The little island of Malta was an interesting stay for Paul. The people there were great hosts to the shipwrecked strangers. Paul was fed, refreshed and cared for (Acts 28:10 He also helped the islanders by miraculously healing the natives who were suffering from some kind of disease(Acts 28:7-8). After three months on this tiny island, they set sail for Rome...Ceasar...trial.

It seemed that God had plans for Paul there too…(Acts 28:30-31) While he lived in confined quarters awaiting trial he wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. I wondered, would he have had that kind of uninterrupted time to write these amazing letters had he been busy in Spain?

What amazed me, was that there is no account that Paul ever made it to Spain. I guess The Lord had other plans for him. I do know though, that his life was in the heart of God's will, and that “will” curiously included arrest, shipwreck, and life in confinement in Rome, but it did not include Spain. So I pondered some more...I have to think that, knowing Paul, he had thoughtfully considered his intentions to go to Spain too, and thought he could do so much for the Lord there…. how interesting that he never made it…

So I considered my life... do I have a “Spain”…somewhere I aspire to be for only the best of intentions? Yes, I do, but for now God has divinely placed me in Malta. So Then I considerd Paul in Malta…and decided to allow the Lord to use me help others, to grow, and also to be refreshed. I just know that my Malta is nestled in the Lord’s will for my life just like it was for Paul.

Maybe at some point in my life I will find myself in “Rome”…settled in for a longer stay, feeling some confinement and restriction, and wondering how God can use me effectively. But, I can’t help but believe that Paul did not consider his imprisonment in Rome ideal conditions for ministry, yet he ministered anyway and many were being effected by this serving prisoner living in the Lord’s will and plans for him no matter how much they seemed to contradict his own plans.

So often I need to change my perspective and realize that I can be in the Lord’s will here and now…. There is not some "greatness" out there in the distance... I am not going to consider life in Maltea one full of “distractions” putting off the great plans I have for my life. Ya know, maybe the distractions are the Lord’s plans for me….the heart of the journey, and maybe time shipwrecked in Malta is really the Lord purposefully moving me closer to the heart of his will.

I am determined to consider that there is great purpose in “Malta” and live in the “here and now” giving my plans over to the Lord loosely and daily and hopefully I will begin to realize that the journey is sometimes most lived in the shipwrecks of life.

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