By Allen White
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Matthew 10:16-20
Passages like this are easy to relegate to the past. We’re never getting arrested. We’re scared of witnessing. And, what’s this about God taking over our mouths? (Not that it’s necessarily a bad idea.)
Imagine that you’re among the twelve hearing these words. Jesus is commissioning you to serve. These are his instructions: “I will do great things with you. Travel light. Don’t get weighed down with things you think you need. And, oh by the way, if you end up in jail or in front of a judge, it’s only an opportunity to share the Gospel with them.” Are these instructions to build Christ’s church or rob a bank?
What would you do if these were Jesus’ instructions to you. Would you say, “Let’s roll!” or “Let’s run!”?
God doesn’t always use conventional means to get us where He wants us. Think about Joseph in the Old Testament. Ultimately, God needed Joseph as basically the Prime Minister of Egypt in order to save God’s people from starvation. The path to Joseph’s success was his brother’s jealousy (Genesis 37:1-11), slavery (Genesis 37:12-36), false accusation (Genesis 39:1-20), imprisonment (Genesis 39:20-40:23) and being forgotten (Genesis 41:1). What a resume: favored son, former slave, ex-con, prime minister. Wouldn’t an MBA and a political science degree have sufficed?
God will use unconventional means to take you to unconventional places in order to fulfill His will. We often look for a convenient, comfortable, safe path when we choose to follow God’s will. After all, we’re working for God. He’ll take care of us, right?
He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). But, God never promised us a rose garden. Besides every rose has its thorn. (How’s that for mixing musical genres?)
What has happen in your life that you absolutely did not expect? A job change, family situation, special needs child, life controlling problem, recovery, loss, disappointment, success. I’m not saying that God preplanned the pain in your life, but how could God use your life experiences to help others?
If you’ve recovered from a staggering financial loss, who can you encourage? If you’ve parented a strong-willed child, who could use your advice? If you’re overcoming a life controlling problem one day at a time, who needs your support?
You don’t have to be an expert on the subject. Your credibility comes from the fact that you lived it and survived. Leave the rest up to God. He will even give you the words according to this passage.
God never wastes a hurt. What have you overcome or endured? How could God use your experiences to help another? What circumstance in your life has been completely unexpected or even disappointing? How has that circumstance given you access to people you wouldn’t know otherwise? Can God use even a low spot to raise somebody up?
Our lives aren’t accidents. We don’t rely on luck – good or bad. God is in control. Will you trust Him with what’s next for you?
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