There’s trouble brewing! It began when Paul and Barnabas sailed from the island of Cyprus for the Turkish port city of Perga. In Acts 13:13 the writer Luke tells us that John Mark ‘…left them to return to Jerusalem.’ If that’s all we know, we’d think that nothing is out-of-the-ordinary. Maybe John Mark has other commitments? A message to take home to the Apostles?
A few chapters later in Acts, we’re told that something has broken out between these missionary partners, Paul and Barnabas. All because of John Mark. You see Paul wants to travel back to the towns where new believers need encouragement and teaching. Barnabas, the ‘Son of Encouragement’, would certainly have said a hearty ‘amen’ to that! But here a discovery is made. John Mark did not just go home or take up a new mission. No. The Bible says that ‘…he had deserted them'(Acts 15: 38). Deserter! John Mark, who happens to be Barnabas’ cousin, has abandoned them.
Can you imagine? Luke says ‘they(Paul and Barnabas) had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company'(Acts 15: 39). A major blow-up. ‘Take John Mark with us?’ ‘Of course’, says Barnabas! ‘No way’, says Paul! Swords are sharpened. Words are spoken. Happens only in the early church? Don’t you wish. Happens today more than I can count, and I’ve never been good at math! I’ve witnessed a few sickening church battles. Sometimes the disillusionment lingers for many years. Dead… but refusing burial. Others have failed us, and we have failed them. In church, no less.
Here’s one lesson from this story. My take. Don’t let troubles and bitterness brew… Does require His assistance. And our maturity. Don’t allow those traumatic times to stop you in your tracks. Learn from them. Move on. It takes time, I know. More than we realize.
Let the pain go. Someone needs to do this today. Maybe you? Someone else? Share this devotional. Why not? Hear what God has to say… to YOU and ME!
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for helping us to let go of what holds us back in life. We need your help. In Jesus’ name. Amen.