My work used to take me to resort locations and so I’ve been to a few islands. There’s a good reason why people spend their hard earned money to visit Hawaii, Bermuda and Puerto Rico (to name a few). The beauty and sense of being transported to another world are captivating. But, after a week in any of these places I’m always ready to go home.
It’s sometimes hard to believe I’ll be 55 years old this Fall. There have been so many wonderful experiences and yet it seems I’ve finally caught a small glimpse of what my assignment or mission life might be. Each of those experiences have shaped me in some way but, now it seems I’m able to look at each day in the context of a bigger picture. This is exciting and creates a longing in me to see more in life than I have over the years.
The apostle Paul had received a very specific assignment from the LORD that he would preach the gospel in Rome. When he was in the middle of a shipwreck he knew in his spirit that this wouldn’t be the end because he wasn’t in Rome yet. When he landed on Malta and was bitten by a poisonous snake he shook it off because he was on a mission that wasn’t completed. At this point in his life he was sticking with what he was sure of.
God uses every person and every event for His purposes. He loves when we draw near to Him and cooperate with His plan for our lives. He waits for us to sit at His feet to receive of His goodness. His plan often includes our willing departure from our plans and harmful habits. This is because our Father truly does know best. Trust in the LORD.
New Living Translation (NLT)
Paul on the Island of Malta
Once we were safe on shore, we learned that we were on the island of Malta. The people of the island were very kind to us. It was cold and rainy, so they built a fire on the shore to welcome us.
As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit him on the hand. The people of the island saw it hanging from his hand and said to each other, “A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live.” But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed. The people waited for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw that he wasn’t harmed, they changed their minds and decided he was a god.
Near the shore where we landed was an estate belonging to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us and treated us kindly for three days. As it happened, Publius’s father was ill with fever and dysentery. Paul went in and prayed for him, and laying his hands on him, he healed him. Then all the other sick people on the island came and were healed. As a result we were showered with honors, and when the time came to sail, people supplied us with everything we would need for the trip.