By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
“We cannot change God. God is unchangeable. If changes are to be made, they must be made in us.” – R.C. Sproul
Look at Saul.
Watch as he stands with a scowl on his face. His arms are crossed. Sand clouds around his feet and gathers on his robes. He speaks up, “Gentlemen, allow me to watch over your coats. This is messy business, after all.” They agree. Jewish men approach him, members of the Sanhedrin, with long beards and angry frowns. One by one they lay their coats at his feet. They then gather in front of him, reach down, and retrieve large rocks from the ground. The anger on their faces is burning through. They do not wait patiently.
Suddenly, the door on an adjacent building is thrown open. The Jewish men turn their heads and smirk in anticipation. Justice will finally be served.
A young man, no older than thirty, is being led out into the bright sun. He squints his eyes. On his face is not fear, as one would expect, but a quiet peace. If one looks close enough they might even see the hint of a smile on his lips. He is flung against the wall across from the Jewish men holding rocks.
They begin throwing as Saul stands nearby and watches in approval.
Look at Paul.
Watch as he sits on the floor of his dirty, grimy cell. His back throbs with pain from the flogging. His body aches where they beat him with rods. The chains around his ankles rattle as he turns to his cellmate. Silas is in a similar state. He raises his head and looks Paul in the eye. Paul smiles at him and begins to sing. Silas joins in. They sing hymns to God late into the night in spite of their situation.
Suddenly, the ground beneath them begins to shake, cutting their song short. The walls of the prison rock back and forth and the bars of their cell vibrate so violently they appear to be liquid. The earthquake ceases. Paul and Silas hear a click. Paul looks down at his ankles. His chains have come loose. “Look,” says Silas pointing. Paul follows his finger to the open door of their cell.
Paul and Silas have been set free.
Do you see the difference? We serve the God of second chances and big changes. You are never too far gone for God to change you, fill you, and use you. Saul hunted and killed Christians but Paul praised God in prison. He was never so far away that God’s grace couldn’t bring him back.
The same is true for you.
Parents: Share the story of Saul/Paul with your children. Explain to them how God changes people.