Now it came to pass, that when we had departed from them and set sail, running a straight course we came to Cos, the following day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.Reading this, that Paul and his company were "running a straight course", reminds me of a previous lesson from our first three months at the ranch for training; that sometimes the most direct path in God's plan will seem a long and winding road to us.
How a person can feel God's call on their lives, but initially, when running towards that call, every door seems to close, and years later, after many trials and growth, this person can then find themselves almost dropped into the calling they felt so many years before. Sometimes they may even feel the need for a reconfirmation from God because they had long ago come to the conclusion that the call they once felt drawn too so strongly had simply come from their own desires.
Sometimes we think we're ready for God's intentions, but sometimes we're wrong. Sometimes God has more preparation in store for us. Sometimes there are skills he would have us learn; or maturity needed before entering into the call he gave us; an understanding that the call is not what we devote ourselves too, but rather that following the call is an answer to our devotion to God; or he may simply have some things he would have done first, perhaps another ministry we are to be a part of, or maybe even a single person in who's life God would have us speak with some time down the road we wouldn't have met had we gone straight into that call or work.
Often he would have us learn a greater dependency on Christ.
Also, sometimes people don't have a single call on their lives. In fact, no one does.
Our servant hood and ministries don't end having left the 9' to 5', stepping down from the pulpit or leaving the mission field.
THE call is to all the world; both across the sea and down the street, both at school and in our jobs, at church and in our own homes.
Paul himself had quite the winding road before finally coming to Rome; years of powerful and often painful ministry before finally reaching those he had been desiring to see for so long.
The NIV translates the word 'depart' as 'torn'. Pastor G explained that the Greek language was extremely descriptive; where many may know of the Greek words "Phileo", "Eros" and "Agape", each describing different forms of love, in Greek there are actually 9 other words, aside from these three, which we would translate simply as "Love"; each describing a different and very specific form of love.
Paul did not simply leave the elders, he tore himself away from them, and I highly doubt Luke wrote of a physical tearing away. The leaving was no easy thing.
In this age we are so blessed by technology that, if I want, if I am intentional in it, my leaving does not need to be a tearing away. In Paul's day, separation meant the only form of communication would be letters sent weeks, if not months before being received. Now, I can Skype for an hour anytime we're both online. I don't like that I lack strong communication skills and find it so difficult to maintain contact over long distances. I want to schedule some time to Skype with a few people from the ranch for after I have returned home to maintain that connection and prevent my own tendencies to cause a complete break in contact.
I will also write a reminder for myself for my last few days here at the ranch as a reminder to reread this study, both to help motivate myself in staying connected and to remember what I spoke of earlier, that God will often lead us down a winding path to reach places of divine calling.
Written April 13, 2012
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