“Out of Control”

Acts 9:1-9

Have you ever been “dead wrong?”  In the 1600s “dead” was used to mean completely or absolutely and by the1800s the idiom was common way of saying completely wrong.  I was totally convinced my Ipad was stolen while I was at the grocery store yesterday.  I searched.  My friends lent their eyes.  We pulled the trash apart.  It was nowhere to be found.  After dinner I took my husband’s walker to him and just happened to lift the lid on the seat.  There was the Ipad.  I was wrong.  It was not stolen but in his dementia, he had forgotten he had picked it up to bring to me.  Whew, a small mistake but a big scare. I was dead wrong in my thinking.

         At the end of chapter 7 of Acts, Luke tells us that Saul, an ambitious Pharisee oversaw the stoning of deacon Stephen and was committed to rooting out this misinformation being spread by early believers.  He was so committed and angry we learn today that he had gotten letters to drag women, children and whole families from their homes to send them to jail for follow Jesus. Saul was angry enough to kill.  Saul was out of control.  Unfortunately we have weekly stories now of people who are so angry they are willing to ruin people’s lives.  Anger can drive a person to be out of control.  Saul was angry enough to go to other cities to root out the lie.  And so the web of hatred spreads!

         Not only is Saul out of control, the victims of his hatred must feel like life is spiraling out of control.  They have not committed a “big sin” but found faith and now they are being persecuted and hunted like animals.  We hear those comments by victims of war like Ukrainians.  Accidents feel just wrong.  Disease is never welcome.  Somedays we feel like life is out of control and makes no sense.

         How can someone be stopped when another is so blinded by hatred or so convinced our understanding of reality is wrong?  The person cannot be reasoned with.  Some of us know this from loved ones lost in addiction who are beyond our love. We know the hopelessness of being on the receiving end of hate.  This scenario feels hopeless but we shall see that it is not beyond God.  The next verse tells us, “as he neared” his destination, God stepped in.

         Perhaps we do not feel out of control right now but we can certainly pray for those caught in war, in refugee camps, in prisons, or in hospitals.  Read Psalm 23 and pray each verse for yourself or someone else.  God sees and God cares and he can step in to confront evil.

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