Your next stay

Acts 13:16-25

We had traveled to attend a family wedding. After many hours on the road, we were ready to be out of the car and into a comfortable room. As we pulled up to our hotel, nothing looked like the online advertisement. The outside was a bit dingy and dated. In our family, I’m the least bougie Fletcher. Even I wasn’t quite sure about this place. 

Neighborhood kids jumped the fence to have their time in the pool. Our room’s smell reached us before we reached the room. The final straw was the tub. I’ll just say I was more than okay with telling the hotel we would not be staying with them. We switched hotels and things were better. Better right up until it was clear we walked out of the elevator just in time to keep someone from breaking in our room.

The wedding was great. Family time was wonderful. Our stay was anything but. 

Even if we had stayed in our first hotel, we would’ve known our stay wouldn’t have lasted. That would’ve made it somewhat bearable. 

Most of life’s stays, though, don’t work like that. We don’t know how long we’ll have to endure. How long we’ll need strength and courage to maintain any sense of hope or encouragement.

It’s the great question of the psalms: How long, O Lord?

Once, Paul and his companions were asked to give a word of exhortation to the people at synagogue (Acts 13:15). Paul stood and began to recount the history of God’s people that led to Jesus. He began in Egypt. Today, I’m reflecting on the language used in his opening lines. According to Paul, God made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt (Acts 13:17). 

I had never considered Egypt as the people’s stay. That makes it sound like it was always going to temporary. If we remember the entire story, we remember it would be. Still, it had the possibility of being a comfortable or appealing stay. Exodus says otherwise. Of course, they didn’t know how long they’d be in Egypt. They didn’t know where their story would lead. 

And neither do we. So, what do we do? We’ll need faith and trust. Hope comes in handy, too. All that helps us to remember our story. If God’s been faithful before, God will be faithful again. How long your next stay is may not be clear, but God’s steadfast love is. 

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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