Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Trapped on an Island!

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Trapped on an Island!

Article excerpt

NO, it wasn't a shipwreck. It was a week-long family vacation on a rugged island off the coast. I dreaded the rustic living as time spent constrained, with few things to do and no communication with the shore.

But in the end I learned a valuable spiritual lesson: There is never a time "isolated from God's love, and there is no curtailment of healing opportunities when we are responsive to His love.

Something from the Bible about the Apostle Paul stimulated my thinking in this direction. The Book of Acts tells us that he was a prisoner once, bound for Rome on a ship when it hit stormy weather, ran aground, and broke up in the rough seas. The ship's company, including Paul, struggled ashore on an island called Melita, which almost surely is present-day Malta.

Paul--who in a letter to the Ephesians described himself as "the prisoner of Jesus Christ--was bitten by a viper as he was laying wood on the fire that had been started to warm them. He shook off the viper and suffered not one ill effect.

This evidence of God's protecting power kindled the receptivity of the island's inhabitants to Paul's God-inspired message. Later, Paul healed the father of Publius, the "chief man of the island. And the Bible account continues, "Others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed. It's safe to assume that Paul did not feel trapped on this island. In fact, this intrepid apostle never allowed chains or a jail cell or an island to contain his work of preaching and healing.

What was it that Paul knew which caused him to feel free even when he was held prisoner? It must have been a strong, strong conviction of the power, presence, and activity of God in his own life. Isn't the reason for this conviction evident in Paul's own declaration in his letter to the Romans: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? …

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