During my devotion time one day I was reading Acts 23 and all of a sudden I found myself laughing out loud. There is nothing comical about Acts 23. The story really starts in Acts 21 when the apostle Paul decides to go Jerusalem. Long story short, Paul had been persecuted and was basically fighting for his life. He’s sitting in a prison cell (for his own protection as much as anything else) when the Lord appears to him and says “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have told the people about me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome.” (Acts 23:11)
What made me laugh was thinking that I might know what went on in Paul’s mind when the Lord appeared to him that night. Though I can’t be sure of Paul’s thoughts I think I can make a pretty educated guess.
A couple of years ago, I hit a pretty low point in my life. I’d just been told that I had some health issues that, if left unchecked, would eventually leave me pretty debilitated. The problem was that the cure wouldn’t come in the form of a “one-a-day” vitamin, or even through surgery. The cure would come through a complete overhaul of my diet that would, at the very least, require a lot more cooking on my part. I am not a cook. I can cook, I can even cook pretty well, but I’m not much of a fan of the whole process. The menu planning, the shopping, and preparing of food just seemed so time consuming that I oftentimes found myself running to the local fast food joint for a quick bite. Yes, I’m aware this is an unhealthy habit, but did you not see how stressed I get about cooking?
So, there I was, having to cook, not liking it, and giving up some of my favorite foods (a couple of food intolerances were thrown into the mix to make it even more fun.) As crazy as it may seem, this turn of events led me to a very low point in my life. In hindsight my response was perhaps a bit overdramatic but hey, I do overdramatic well. It was during that time that a woman, whom really, I barely knew, came to me and told me that God had given her a message for me.
Getting a message from God through someone else is not the kind of thing that happens to me on a regular basis, but I was in a bad spot and I know that God sent her to me that day to give me encouragement. The truth is that her message for me wasn’t all that different from what the Lord told Paul while he sat in prison. No, she didn’t tell me I would go to preach in Rome (though I’m not opposed to that idea) but she did tell me, essentially, that God had plans to use me in a big way. This was great news but do you know what I really heard that day? What I heard, and what I think Paul might have heard also, is this, “You’re gonna live!” That’s it. I had to ask my friend to write down the message she’d given me because I really wanted to hear it all but at that moment I was focused on the “you’re gonna live” part echoing inside my head.
You see, when God tells you He’s got plans for you, and you’re thinking that you might be on the road to your demise, it changes things up. It gives you a reason to do whatever it takes (in my case, embrace the whole diet change and cooking process) so that you might be ready for all that He has for you.
I don’t want to miss out on any of God’s adventures for me because I was unwilling to change something as simple as the way I eat. Is there anything God has asked you to change? Are you willing? I encourage you – make the change. You won’t regret it.
Nancy loves to laugh and considers laughter a critical part of human survival. If you were to ask, most days she would say her glass is half full but when it starts reaching the half-empty level, she reaches for a funny book or movie knowing that indeed “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Nancy has three married sons and five grandchildren. To read more from Nancy find her at www.nancyholte.com.