now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. it happened that the father of publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. and paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him, healed him.
[acts 28:7-8]
obedience that leads to healing
in paul’s life before Christ, we see him climbing the ladder of personal achievement at the expense of others’ suffering and death. after Christ, we see God bring tremendous life and healing, at the expense of paul’s suffering, and eventually his death. why did paul willingly make this change? close to this time in acts, he wrote this in his letter to the philippians:
but whatever gain i had [in his life as a pharisee and persecutor of christians], i counted as loss for the sake of Christ. indeed, i count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
[philippians 3:7-8]
knowing Jesus made it worth it. paul saw knowing Jesus as the treasure above all treasures, and he was right! paul was patient to endure suffering because he knew his reward—knowing Jesus forever. this transformed paul from a covetous, self-serving persecutor, to selfless, generous servant. if you see Jesus as your greatest treasure, it can transform you too!
Lord, consume us with awe of who you are, and in the amazing truth that we get to know you and be with you! help us to see all else as loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing you. and Lord, may we be patient to endure suffering in obedience to you, that you may use it to bring healing to others.
~ stephen hall