August 18, 2017
“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 (NIV)
I felt God in the details from the beginning. It was hard work, but I was grateful to do it. I did everything I was supposed to do, but it didn’t turn out the way I hoped.
Have you ever been there?
You’re doing everything you feel Jesus has called you to do. It’s a mix of messy and beautiful, and you’re OK with that. You love the times you sense God doing something powerful, but there are times you work as hard as you can, and it doesn’t turn out the way you think it should at all.
That can be discouraging, to say the least.
In today’s passage, we find Peter and the apostles in a hard place. Despite their faithfulness, they have been jailed and beaten many times. They are human, so there are discouraging moments. Yet each time they are released, they go right back out and do what Jesus asked them to do.
At one point, their dogged persistence troubles the authorities. They meet to discuss their fate. That’s when Gamaliel, a respected member of the community, speaks up:
“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 it is from God, you will not be able to stop them.
What if I looked at my assignments from God differently?
Whether loving a child, leading a ministry or investing in a relationship, if God is in it, then we can rest in it. Success isn’t measured by challenges, our hard work or even the results.
If we know God has asked us to do something, that’s sufficient. All He wants is for us to do our part. We can trust He’s doing His. We might not see the eternal impact, but He does.
There will always be a mix of messy (our feelings, critical people, a desire to see immediate results) and faith as we follow Jesus. We might think it should be easier. We may believe it should bring us joy all the time. We might even equate off-the-charts results with pleasing Him. On days like that, we need to remember this:
If it is from God, you will not be able to stop [her]. Not because of us, but because of Him.
We can rest in what God’s asked us to do, from beginning to end. We’ll do our best. We’ll be faithful. When we complete that assignment, we’ll start listening for the next. We keep loving. We keep our heart attuned to His voice. We don’t allow results or challenges to rob us of the joy of partnering with Him.
If God is in it, and we know that to be true, we are free to simply show up and do our part. After all, God is in charge of the results.
Heavenly Father, You invited me to partner with You, and I’ve made it all about the external. I’ve wrapped it around feelings or results or what I think it should look like. I shift the focus back to You. If You are in it, that’s enough for me. Thank You for allowing me to partner with You in Your plans. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Corinthians 1:25, “This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God's weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.” (NLT)
Job 42:2 “I know that You can do all things, and that no thought or purpose of Yours can be restrained or thwarted.” (AMPC)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
The disciples didn’t allow discouragement to dictate their destiny. How can you follow their example?
Pray and ask God to help you focus on what He’s asking you to do. Complete that assignment. Then shut the door on that assignment, and listen for the next.
© 2017 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.
Originally published Friday, 18 August 2017.