When the viper bit Paul after he was shipwrecked on the island of Melita (Acts 28:3-5), God had already promised that Paul would give testimony before Caesar in Rome.
Even a viper can’t stop God’s plan.
In Acts 23:11, God confirmed that Paul would go to Rome as His witness. After than confirmation, a lot of things happened.
- He was sent to Caesarea to testify before the governor, Felix.
- He was put in jail there to wait for the Jews who were accusing him to travel from Jerusalem.
- After his testimony before Felix, he was kept in Caesarea for two years to await the arrival of Festus.
- Festus, after hearing Paul’s case, referred him to King Agrippa, who finally sent him on his way to Rome.
The delays were not over, however. The ship met with a hurricane and was blown 476 miles off course before grounding off the island of Melita. Another three months passed before the ship’s master was able to secure passage on a ship out of Alexandria.
We want to serve God, but life keeps happening.
How does waiting time fit into God’s plan?
During Paul’s delays, he witnessed before four rulers, and we have no idea how many soldiers and guards were impacted by Paul’s testimony.
He encouraged and preached to 275 souls aboard the ship.
He carried the gospel to the island of Melita, where there was no known witness. The island people were prayed for and healed.
In each city the ship visited, Paul sought out believers to offer encouragement and teaching.
Where we see delays and hardship (woe is me), God sees opportunity to reach people who need Him. Paul used his waiting time to honor and serve the Lord.
I, too, have a choice. I can huff and squirm at inconveniences and detours, or I can look around me for the opportunities God provides.
God is not about efficiency; He is about people and redemption, regardless of my schedule and timeline.
Wherever I am today, whatever the situation, God has a task for me. May I be faithful to fulfill it.
Open my eyes to see the opportunities you provide. Open my heart to seize those opportunities. Please help me not to let my schedule, or a viper, get in the way of Your will.
Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.