A guest blog today from Bill Swale. Thanks Bill!
At the start of November I guess most of us said, “No not again, how long are we going to be in isolation and lockdown?” It is demoralising and restrictive but consider some of our Bible Patriarchs and Apostles who spent years in lockdown but never gave up hope, knew the Lord’s presence and used the time to advance the Gospel and save a nation and the surrounding district. I am referring to Paul and Joseph.
Recently, in my bible notes I have been reading about the life of Joseph and his family (Genesis ch 37 to ch 47). He was picked on by his brothers out of jealousy, sold into slavery, bought by Potiphar and because of his dedication to God became the head of Potiphar’s household. But that reprieve was cut short, again, through deception and lies he was back in prison lockdown. Still he did not despair but through his belief in God was able to interpret dreams. He interpreted a fellow prisoners dream who promised to tell folks who had done that for him but the prisoner neglected to tell, so in prison Joseph stayed. Eventually, because of Pharaoh’s troubled dream, word got out that Joseph could interpret and is called to interpret the dream of the Pharaoh and by saying it was not him who interprets the dreams but God, he is successful in interpreting the dream and his lockdown ceased. Not only that he is given the responsibility and authority to set out plans to store up the produce of the land over a seven year period. Through this authority he was enabled to meet with his brothers, be reconciled and see his father again and save a nation.
What about Paul? After spending time hunting down the Christian believers, in an attempt to lockdown the spreading of the Gospel, he is struck down, blinded and helpless until Ananias visits him. From then on he is a man dedicated to the spreading of the Gospel. You might say he was free, but not totally. He was persecuted by his fellow Jews, arrested, transported to Rome and spent many years under house arrest, basically lockdown. Did he relent and give up? No, he wrote many letters of encouragement and counsel and used his lockdown to advance the Kingdom.
We can do the same and praise God that as a church we are, through the dedication of our gifted IT team, service leaders, Martin and team BBchurch, reaching folks in lots of new areas. Not just that though, each of us individually can use this lockdown time effectively by acts of kindness and when prompted witness to the good news of the Gospel.
So don’t despair, trust in the Lord and be a Joseph or a Paul and make a difference.
By writing this I challenge myself as I am not good at saying the right thing at the right time but as Martin has said it is not us that does the converting, it is Jesus through the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Praise God.
Blessings. Bill Swale