THIS TOO WILL… Read Acts 19:1-20:2

What a riot Paul caused in the ancient city of Ephesus.  He didn’t have a riot, he caused one!  Popular guy… to get out of Dodge!  Read especially verses 32-34.  This angry mob was so totally out-of-control, Luke says ‘in confusion’, some people shouting one thing and some another.  He says that most of the crowd had no idea why they were even there!  But there they were, angry as all- get-out, yelling at the top of their lungs ‘in unison for about 2 hours’.  Can you imagine?  A cacophony of blood-curdling  screeching that never seemed to end. But  let’s step back a moment.  Have you ever been in such a situation that felt like this Ephesian chaos but obviously was not?  A time that was just plain horrendous for you personally or professionally or for some loved one?  I have. A number of them really.  As we all have if we think about it.  One of them for me was  when a pastorate just blew apart.  When sermons gave way to screeching.  When it just never seemed to end or go away, the pain that is, the disappointment, the angst over what the future held, where the Lord would now lead or even if.  That’s where those 5 opening words of Acts chapter 20 mean so very much to me–‘when the uproar had ended’.  Yes, Lord, thank you, it will, the uproar will not last forever. The uproar will not be the final word.  There will be an end, and it will come at just the right time, from His hands holding our needy ones.  But read on in Acts 20.  Luke says that Paul didn’t just lick his wounds. No, he encouraged those around him.  He traveled ‘speaking many words of encouragement to the people’.   Paul may have been down, but he got right back up in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Ok, lick your wounds.  I did…for a long time. .  But pray…get up…go on for Jesus.  Learn from the uproar.  I did.  I learned to reach out to those who have landed their ministry boats on the rocks.  Of the over 100 fellow pastors in my regional denomination, only one ever called to say ‘how are you?’ and ‘I’m praying for you’.  One…one percent or less.  Better than none, you may think. I’ve learned to reach out, go out of my way to fellow pastors in crisis, to encourage them by just being there for them,  whether they’re right or wrong, to be there for them and encourage them  with what Luke wrote, ‘when the uproar had ended…’  When knocked down in life, get  back up…in time–the best thing you can do for yourself is to reach out to someone else.  Only God knows when the uproar will end, but I can be there for someone else until it does.  And you?  Can you?  Will you?

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