July 21, 2010

 

The Time Traveler's Wife

Rachel Olsen

 

"We love him, because he first loved us."

1 John 4:19 (KJV)

         

Devotion:

I recently saw the movie The Time Traveler's Wife.  In it a man has the unusual experience of being repeatedly, supernaturally plucked from where he is and in a mere nanosecond, transported in time to another location.  After a short duration there, he is again miraculously transported back to the present.  He never quite knows when he will go, or where he will land. The film, like the novel it's based on, is a love story with a science-fiction twist.

 

This morning as I was reading in the book of Acts I read a similar story - a love story with a supernatural twist.

 

In Acts chapter 8 we find a man named Phillip - not Philip of the twelve apostles, but another believer - preaching Christ to the Samarians. Before this point, following Christ's ascent to Heaven and the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down in Christ's place, the disciples were in Jerusalem. Rather than going out to the ends of the earth to preach the good news, they were remaining on familiar ground. It took persecution to drive the Jewish believers out of Jerusalem to surrounding regions where they would spread the message of Jesus.

 

Phillip had fled the city and taken up that task. He was teaching the Gentiles that God loved them and Christ died for them.

 

The end of Acts 8 tells one of these accounts. An angel of God instructed Phillip to walk a specific road in a certain direction.  When he did, he saw an African man there returning to Africa from Jerusalem. The man, a eunuch, was an officer in the royal household of Ethiopia. Phillip heard the Holy Spirit instruct him to go near to his chariot. Obeying, Phillip found the man reading the book of Isaiah - God was already wooing this man's heart. Indeed, already planning for salvation to come to the continent of Africa. While Africa was still clueless about Christ and dead in its sin, God's love paved the way for redemption.  I told you it was a love story!

 

Phillip helped the man understand what he was reading in Isaiah - a prophecy about Jesus - and explained to him the message of salvation. The Ethiopian believed the account of Christ.  Then he spotted some nearby water and asked to be baptized.  The entire story to this point is supernatural - all driven by the heart of God - but here's where the science-fiction-like twist comes in. Read it for yourself:

When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing.  Meanwhile, Philip found himself farther north at the town of Azotus. He preached the Good News there and in every town along the way until he came to Caesarea. (Acts 8:39-40, NLT)

Just like that - like the time traveler in the movie I saw - Phillip was supernaturally transported from that moment in the water with the Ethiopian to another town farther north where he would continue telling the Gentiles of Jesus. While this seems bizarre and amazing to us, it's really common to God. 

 

God travels through space and time without being bound by it. Let that sink in just a minute. He is already in the middle of your day, and in the middle of your tomorrow.

 

Surely then, we can trust Him with our day. Surely He can handle whatever problems or emotions may arise.

 

In the movie I watched, the time traveler loved his wife fiercely - he loved her from childhood and wooed her across space and time. God - the true Time Traveler - loves you enough to woo and care for you too. As a believer, you are the Time Traveler's wife - the very bride of the ascended Christ.

                       

Dear Lord, You are bigger, more powerful, and more magnificent than I can imagine.  I place myself in Your hands today.  I will trust You wherever I find myself today, and with whatever comes my way.  I love You, and I know that is because You first loved me.  Help me show others Your amazing love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

 

Related Resources:

If you are like the Ethiopian, trying to grasp who Jesus is and what that means for you, click here to find out.

 

Consider sponsoring an African child through Compassion International.  Your chosen child will receive love, food, educational help, health care, and most importantly, the message of Jesus.

 

Visit Rachel's blog.

 

God's Purpose for Every Woman: a compilation of favorite P31 Encouragement for Today devotions, by various P31 authors. Gen. Eds. Lysa TerKeurst and Rachel Olsen

 

Application Steps: 

Is there something you are fretting over today?  Pray and trust God with it.

 

Would you like to be a Phillip?  Wish you could help others come to know Jesus? You can!  Follow this link, choose a child, partner with Compassion International and begin writing your child letters.

 

Reflections: 

Do I share the love and gospel of Christ with others?

 

Power Verses:

1 John 4:7, "Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God." (NLT)

 

Romans 5:8, "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." (NLT) 

 

 

© 2010 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.

 

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