The Great Yard Sale (or is it Great Garage Sale?) continues. Despite some nasty stormy weather. The womenfolk are over there, having conversations that men are not welcome to overhear, or are on matters we really don't care much about. Or both. I went over and helped to make the morning preparation stuff, then was sent off. Fine by me.
The Old Testament reading for the day is chapters 35, 36 and 37 of Job. THIS is the last of the words of Elihu. It would seem that he too was what was once termed "worldly wise". He was not the last of such. Many of us at heart believe that if bad things happen, they are the result of bad actions that led to those results. And that can happen, we all know of cases. But sometimes, bad things happen to "good people", which is where most of us secretly class ourselves mostly, for reasons we don't see. When we truly surrender our lives to the Lord, we are ceding our authority over events, and saying that we will trust Him no matter what. MUCH easier to say than to carry forth. Believe me, I know.
Now, a whole lot of what Elihu said was true, in a vacuum. Not necessarily appropriate to the specific circumstances, but true. As many of us know, it is possible to be both accurate and unhelpful while being unloving and having less-than-perfect motives. Done that.
The New Testament passage before us today is chapter 14 in the Acts of the Apostles.
This is a glimpse of how the church began. Against determined opposition on many sides and virtually everywhere they went.
And look at some of the place names, look on a map if you can. Most of those places were situated in modern-day Turkey, those ancient cities now ancient ruins.
Look, for example, at Antioch. Now called Antakya, in Turkey, on the Mediterranean just above Syria. Hardly a stronghold of Christianity today, but it played a part.
Or Derbe, now Derbent, in central inland Turkey.
How about Iconium? Now called Konya, also in central inland Turkey.
Now think about how they got from place to place. LONG way from Jerusalem. Areas far from each other, and neither quick nor easy to get to. Without friends, without a support organization there already, without money. But with the Lord, and that was enough.
Now, most of those areas are ruins, in regions oppressed by the evil doctrine that is Islam. Seems hopeless now. Seemed hopeless then, also. God's not done yet.