A Waiting Game

Phil Christman

Read: Acts 26:19-32

This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar. (v. 32)

Both prisoners and those who try to remember and love them get used to one thing: bureaucratic uncertainty. Think of that listless feeling you have when you’re between jobs, the sense that you don’t know what you ought to be doing with yourself. Being in legal limbo is similar, except that the confusion spreads to every area of your identity. Should I act as a free person? Should I make plans or establish relationships? What do I tell my kid about her next birthday?

Paul shows us how to deal with such far-reaching uncertainty: he stayed anchored in his vocation as a Christian. He gave a speech of such fiery persuasive power that Agrippa had to brush off Paul’s direct challenge to become a Christian with an ironical question (v. 28). In reply Paul appealed, once again, to his rights as a Roman citizen and intentionally exposed himself to the dangers of transportation in custody. (I think here of some prisoners I’ve known who, in being moved to another facility for medical or other reasons, have lost all their few possessions or been exposed to dangerous conditions.) What allowed Paul to do all this was that he faithfully remembered his job as a witness to the risen Christ—a job that all Christians share. When this anchors us, nothing, not even legal limbo, can shake us. —Phil Christman

Prayer: Lord, wherever we are, help us stay anchored in our real job, which is to love you so much that it draws others to you.