“After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.” (Acts 9:23-25)
So, what do we have here, a coward? By no means! Christians are not called to be martyrs in every situation. Saul’s time would come when he would be martyred for his witness to Jesus but not at this time. He was just beginning Jesus’ plan for him that would take him on missionary journeys that would transform the world. Jesus Himself withdrew from persecution and death until His time had come to go to the Cross. These are strategic withdrawals on the part of Jesus and Saul. All Christians practice them in the plan of God. We do not follow a cult that welcomes martyrdom. We follow Jesus’ plan for us.
We must not forget that Jesus is Savior and Lord of all! When He comes back in glory, He will be a roaring Lion, now a passive Lamb. His mission will have changed. Our mission for Him will be unique to us. Will we experience persecution for confessing Jesus and make a strategic withdrawal for the sake of His plan for us? He only knows. Our desire is to be in His will, whatever that is.
Heavenly Father, we desire to be faithful witnesses of Your Son. What that exactly means for us we do not know. Therefore, continue to guide us in Your plans for us. Whether they be strategic withdrawals or martyrdom. We are in Your hands for Your glory.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn.