My beloved friend Rosemary sent a word to me this past week that spoke so profoundly to my spirit, I am hearing one phrase over and over every day, many times a day. The phrase is "We are still here."
Her word came from Acts 16:25-33. In this story Paul and Silas are in prison when suddenly a violent earthquake hits, the prison foundations are shaken and the doors fly open. The prison warden wakes up and finds that the doors are open and undoubtedly the prisoners have all escaped, and then he draws his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouts, "Don't harm yourself! We are still here!"
Something awesome happens because they are still there. The warden gets down on his knees and asks how he can be saved. Paul and Silas reply, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved - you and your household." Then they are given the opportunity to witness to all the people in the warden's household, and everyone there gets baptized in the Lord and comes to the faith. They even stop to attend to Paul and Silas' wounds in their new-found love and compassion! Verse 34 says, "The jailer brought them into his house and a meal was set before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God - he and his whole family."
All this because THEY WERE STILL THERE! This has had a great impact on me. I see and hear the Father speaking to us in this day about steadfastness. It is a time of the great falling away. People want to be in their comfort zones; we want instant gratification and results. If things don't happen fast enough, we just quit and get interested in something else. If things get too hard and we start feeling tired and worn out, we just quit and stay home. Where is the steadfastness of Paul and Silas? Where is the deep passion to bring in the harvest - a passion that overrides all our own comforts?
It would have been SO easy for Paul and Silas to run out that prison door and say, "Thank You, O God, for this miraculous escape! Thank you for getting us out of here! Whew, now we can find a friendly house with a nice bed and get some rest." But no...they were steadfast. They were focused. Most of all, they were obedient. All they said was, "We are still here." The obedience brings the blessing.
Does this speak to you? When you've been given something to do for God, will you persevere even when you don't understand what He's doing - and even when you're tired and bruised?
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