Today’s Bible Reading: Acts 25
Before we start talking about Acts 25, let’s take a moment to acknowledge where Acts 24 ends: “After two years went by in this way, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And because Felix wanted to gain favor with the Jewish people, he left Paul in prison” (Acts 24:27).
For two years, Paul was imprisoned — even though, as is made clear in Acts 25, he was innocent! Even when Felix was succeeded by Festus, Paul still wasn’t set free. After the leading priests and other Jewish leaders made their accusations against Paul, Festus went to Caesarea and had Paul brought before him. Although the Jewish leaders couldn’t prove any of their accusations against Paul, Festus still asked him to stand trial in Jerusalem.
Realizing that his life would be in jeopardy if he went to Jerusalem, Paul refused, and instead appealed to Caesar. Although this move kept him from being delivered into the hands of people who wanted him dead, it comes came with consequences. As Agrippa remarks in Acts 26:32, “He could have been set free if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar.”
Basically, these chapters read like a series of unfortunate events for Paul. On first glance, it seems like nothing is going his way and every turn he takes just leads to more waiting. It seems like those two years are being wasted.
However, if you give these chapters a closer read, you’ll realize that Paul isn’t sitting around waiting during those two years. In Acts 24, we read that Paul talked frequently with Felix during his two years of imprisonment—and it being Paul, you know he was sharing the gospel during those conversations. Then in Acts 25, Paul got to present his story first to Festus and his advisors, and then to Agrippa and Bernice, who were “accompanied by military officers and prominent men of the city” (Acts 25:23).
In the midst of those two years, they might have felt like wasted, but looking back, God gave Paul a lot of opportunities to preach the gospel during those years of imprisonment.
For two years after graduating college, I felt like I was waiting. Sure, I wasn’t in prison while people plotted to kill me, but it still felt like a difficult time to me. I couldn’t find a job in my field, I was living at home, and I felt stuck. Those two years felt like a waste of time.
However, looking back, God gave me so many opportunities during that period of waiting! They weren’t the opportunities I was hoping for or expecting, but I was able to learn, to teach, to form new relationships, to travel, and so much more! If you’d asked me at graduation what I planned to do next, those two years of “waiting” were not what I had in mind. But as I reflect on that time, I’m now so thankful for them. That time brought me to where I am now.
It can be difficult to wait on God’s timing, especially when it feels like wasted time. But if we follow God faithfully, even when it feels like we’re going nowhere fast, God will use that chapter of our life for his glory—even if we don’t see it at the time.
Think back to a period where you felt like you were waiting for a long time or like your time was being wasted. What opportunities did God provide for you during that time? What did you learn? Who did you help? How did you grow? Would you be who you are or where you are now, if it weren’t for that waiting?
If you feel you’re in a period of waiting right now, remind yourself to look for the opportunities God’s placing before you. Keep an eye out for his hand in your life. Follow him faithfully, and he will deeply bless this period of your life.
If you’ve been through a period of waiting recently, set aside some time to look back and reflect on what God did in your life during that chapter. Thank him for the blessings you didn’t see in the midst of the waiting.
Heavenly Father, thank you for being a God who works during the waiting. Thank you for the opportunities you have provided for me. Thank you for blessing and teaching me, even when I did not realize it. Help me to see how you’re working in my life during the times of waiting. Help me to follow you faithfully, no matter where I’m at. May your will be done. Amen.
This post was written by Payton Lechner. Payton is currently an intern at CedarCreek and works part-time at her local library. In her spare time, she freelances as a writer and editor. Besides the English language, Payton loves swimming, cats, and a good cup of tea.
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