You Never Know

Posted: December 17, 2019 in Meditations


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Photo by bruce mars on

I am 65 years old. I have no idea when my life will end. I only know I am closer to the end than the beginning. Can anyone tell me what tomorrow brings? This very day could be the most significant day of my life. You never know. Life proves to be a strange ride filled with convoluted twists and turns. Expect the unexpected. Right? My world as a Christian is ordered and predicated with absolutes. Life is not momentary series of actions and reactions within a random universe. But my life does get crazy. I live in a realm of angels and demons. Spiritual warfare permeates my sensibilities – pretty weird stuff to the agnostic. I’m never alone. The presence of Holy God abides within my being, a senior partner who enervates life out of death. That new life in Christ asserts intention, ordained purpose, day by day, hour by hour. And yet, I rarely understand the divine in time. My moments require faith and obedience rather than clarity. For me, God indeed works in mysterious ways; he demands trust without borders.

The Apostle Paul and his partner Barnabas barely escaped with their lives from Iconium, a city located in the interior of modern day Turkey. The full story can be found in Acts 14. They come upon a small Roman colony, a town called Lystra. Paul meets a man lame from birth and heals him. The miracle understandably excites the town. They mistake Paul and Barnabas for Hermes and Zeus. “Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, humans like you.” Acts 14:15  The missionaries do their best to share their gospel of Christ to an eager but confused people. Meanwhile the mob from Iconium tracks down Paul and Barnabas, incites the crowd, and stones Paul. Believing him dead, they dump his body outside the city walls. A battered Paul awakens and goes back into the city – an action I still do not understand. Shortly thereafter they leave Lystra and continue on their missionary journey.

In that moment, what do you think Paul understood? I know what I might have understood. God healed a man, a bunch of pagans thought I was a god, I quickly became a demon, I got battered within an inch of my life, woke up outside the city walls a bloody mess, and did the unthinkable – I went back into the town that just tried to kill me. I believe Paul would say, “I have no idea what the divine was doing in time with and through my life.” Paul and Barnabas know one way to live, trust and obey. The rest is up to God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5,6  They don’t know what God knows and that is okay with them. Is that okay with us? Will we trust without borders – even when life appears to be totally insane in the moment?

Two years later Paul returns to Lystra with a new partner named Silas. A small church thrives in town. We meet Timothy for the first time, a promising young Christian. The importance of that awful near death experience two years prior all makes sense now. Paul sees the divine in time. Timothy joins Paul and Silas as a coworker for the remainder of the second missionary journey that brings the Gospel to Europe for the first time. Two of Paul’s letters in the New Testament bear his name. Timothy ultimately pastors the important church at Ephesus. He becomes the son Paul never had. Who knew? God knew, God knows.

Can you point out significant moments in your life, moments that passed unappreciated until years later? I had lunch with a pastor from Chicago years ago when I lived in southern Missouri. He asked if I knew anyone that might be a fit for ministry in his church. I gave him a name. My sister and her family now worship at a church in greater Chicago that was founded by that young man. We don’t know the significance of any given moment. But trust me, in God’s economy each moment is significant. Never forget, you are created by and for God, ordained with purpose each moment of each day for his glory. Celebrate the glorious mystery of your life. Trust him. Be bold. In the end, Christ is all that matters.




  1. Sharon Hervold says:

    So encouraging and a needed reminder that faith and trust in God trump knowledge & reason in our walk through this life.

  2. Durkwa says:

    Surrendering to the will of God is the ultimate. Great post, Thank you for writing!

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