Finding the Right Place
The following is the taken from an article in Herald Magazine.
“Sometimes we may fear that we are not in the right place to be used of God. Some brethren find themselves in situations of isolation. Lydia was in such a position. Originally from Thyatira in Asia Minor, Lydia had become a prosperous business woman in the city of Philippi. Yet she made time on the Sabbath to go out of the city and gather where “prayer was wont to be made” (Acts 16:13).
Paul and Silas were prevented from witnessing the Gospel in Asia Minor. Instead, they were given a vision of a Macedonian man who begged them to come and help. Paul and Silas went straight to Philippi, a chief city of Macedonia. There were evidently no synagogues in Philippi, possibly because Philippi was controlled by Rome. On the Sabbath, Paul and Silas went outside the city to a place where they “supposed there was a place of prayer” (Acts 16:13 ASV). Though the vision had been of a man from Macedonia, they only found women gathered there to pray. They sat down and talked with the women who had gathered there. Since Lydia had chosen to spend her Sabbath in worship and prayer, she was at the right place when Apostle Paul began to speak. The Lord opened her heart and she listened and accepted Paul’s words. She and her household were then immersed, and she begged Paul saying, “If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and abide there” (Acts 16:15). It is evident from Acts 16:40 that her hospitality toward Paul and Silas was offered to the other brethren too.
Here, we see the character of our sister Lydia. Circumstances had brought her far from home, but she still sought to obey the Sabbath and to worship and pray. Her heart attitude was right, and so God changed Paul’s itineary to visit her home in Philippi instead of her home in Thyatira. What a tremendous lesson for all of us. If our hearts are in the right attitude, God will work miracles to make sure we are in the right place at the right time.
There is much to learn from our sisters of the New Testament times. They lived in a different time and a different culture than we do. Yet they shared similar experiences, experiences with disappointment, grief, and the pressures and routines of everyday life. Martha, Mary Magdalene, and Lydia rose above their circumstances by seeking to be close to the Lord. They received the Lord’s approval and blessing.
Lessons For Us
In our lives we are frequently confronted by some of these same issues. We can learn some valuable lessons by seeing how God dealt with these women who walked before us.
Criticism — Martha must have suffered pain and shame as the Lord gently rebuked her in Luke 10:38‑42. She accepted the criticism and changed her life in order to obey Jesus. What greater respect and trust can we show for God than to change our lives when His Word shows us a better way? (Proverbs 3:11‑12). Martha learned to stay close to Jesus.
Disappointment — Sometimes God disappoints us. More precisely, sometimes ourexpectations of God disappoint us. It is ok to ask “Why?,” as David did (Psalm 10, 13, 22, 88). God already knows how we feel, just as Jesus already knew how Martha felt. Martha asked Jesus her question, and then expressed her continued trust in him. When we voice our disappointment, we should also express our faith that God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9), and that his promises are true. (Joshua 23:14).
Grief — In our greatest sorrow, God is our strongest comfort (Psalms 56:8). He is the comforter of the depressed
(2 Corinthians 7:6). In her grief, Mary stayed as close as possible to Jesus and received comfort. By her example of trust in God and belief in His son, she surely became a pillar in the Lord’s growing ministry.
Loneliness — If our circumstances take us far from those we love, or if we find ourselves alone in a cold cruel world, gather together with those of like precious faith, as Lydia did (Hebrews 10:25).
Pressures and Responsibilities of daily life — As we rush through our daily lives, we need to take “sabbaths” of rest in which to draw close to God. Lydia sought out time for worship and prayer. In our daily lives, we also need to take the time to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.
Even if we are not in the right place at the right time, if our hearts are in the right attitude, God will arrange the circumstances so that we are blessed.
As we see how Jesus gently sounded the hearts of these beautiful New Testament sisters, we have a better idea of what our Heavenly Father wants from us, and the possibilities for our own encouragement and blessing. We see the varied patterns of faith in their experiences. We see their desperation and their trust even when they could not see Him. If we put ourselves in the right place at the right time with the right attitude of heart, Jesus will use us in his service also.”
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