Support From an Unexpected Source
Acts 27:1 ¶ When it was decided that we were to sail for Italy, they transferred Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort, named Julius.
Paul had appealed to Caesar and so there was no option but to send him to Rome. The time had now come and Paul was being placed on a ship. While he traveled he was to be under the authority of a centurion by the name of Julius. As we discover throughout this journey Paul and Julius become friends and the centurion intercedes, saving Paul’s life. Not only does he save Paul’s life but he becomes dependent upon Paul’s leading and direction. The man who had authority over Paul as a prisoner becomes the unexpected source of help and support during this difficult phase of Paul’s journey.
We often have preconceived notions and expectations of people. Especially when we encounter people in positions of authority we are quick to stereo-type them and what we perceive will be their behaviors. However, it seems that God wants to bring us help from unexpected sources.
If our help constantly came from the same source, or from the places that we would expect, would we still be dependent upon God? I’m afraid that we would become dependent upon ourselves and our own preconceived notions of where the help should come from!
Have you ever wondered why Jesus performed miracles of healing in so many different ways? Sometimes he touched the person. Sometimes he just spoke words. Once he spit into the dirt and created mud for a blind man’s eyes. But there didn’t seem to be anything routine about the way in which Jesus did this work. Why? Because he knew that we as humans would become dependent upon the method instead of the source for the healing.
For Paul, and for us today, the Lord wants to be with us, lead us and guide us through unexpected sources. He can take the perceived enemy and use him to be our guardian and protector. He can take a bad situation (for Paul it was a shipwreck) and use it to be glorified. Why? Because God can use unexpected sources — people, places and things — to support us in our times of need. In this way the glory of God is revealed because he has the power to transcend beyond the limits of our imagination.
Allow God to minister to you today from an unexpected source. Julius should have been Paul’s enemy. He became Paul’s friend and protector. That’s the miracle of the power and grace of God at work in our lives.
Lord, may I be open to the ways in which you want to provide. Amen.