Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So, for a whole year, Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. Acts 11:25-26
On 10 May 1994, after three and a half centuries of colonialism and apartheid, Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first democratically elected president. By the time he became president, Mandela was 75 years old. Mandela spent more than 26 years in prison for his anti-apartheid activism. He was condemned to life imprisonment, narrowly escaping the death penalty. Mandela was released on February 11, 1990, and took the leadership reign of the ANC in July 1991. Eventually, he became the president of South Africa in 1994.
Mandela’s story is a reminder we all can bounce back from life’s setbacks. Failures and disappointments are necessary ingredients for a success story. They help to prepare us for our comeback. No one should be ashamed of their failures, nor should they become resentful of the people who contributed to their setbacks. After all, the word of God reminds us that in “all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
Believers should let the Lord fight their battles and trust Him to give us the victory over enemies seen and unseen. No one can stop us from fulfilling our destiny as ordained by God. In adversity, we have to wait on the Lord and be of good courage, and He will strengthen us.
In today’s text, Paul is bouncing back from his Damascus Road experience. After regaining his sight, Paul, spend several days with the disciples in Damascus preaching in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. However, because of his history as a persecutor of the church, he was not accepted by the disciples in Jerusalem. But the Lord used Barnabas to help Paul gain credibility as a proclaimer of the gospel, and he eventually became the most notable missionary in the New Testament.
Perhaps you made a major blunder and lost the trust of people who care about you. Even if your mistake has hurt your family or destroyed your marriage or ruin your finances, you can still bounce back. The journey back should begin with taking responsibility for your action. Then seek forgiveness through repentance. Don’t be ashamed to accept the support of those who want to help you bounce back. Paul accepted the help of Barnabas.
The journey to bounce back should be done with humility and godliness. It may take you a while to bounce back, so you should not give up if things are not moving as quickly as you anticipated. It took Nelson Mandela more than 26 years to bounce back. These challenging years equipped him to occupy the highest position in South Africa.
Perhaps God is preparing for a position that is above and beyond your expectation after a season of failure. Don’t’ underestimate what God can do through you. Resist the temptation to look down on yourself. Remember, God does not necessarily call the qualified. He qualifies and equips those He calls to do extraordinary things.
Questions for Personal Reflection
In what area of life or Christian journey do you need to bounce back?
How can you help someone else bounce back?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, I thank you for the gift of your grace and your forgiveness. I am praying for the many who are saddled with guilt and shame because of a failure and do not know how to bounce back. Remind them that your love can overshadow any sinful failure. Give them the humility and wisdom to make amends when necessary and help them to be restored just as you have restored me.