Acts 15:36-16:15

by Doug Bratcher

Things change. In fact, it is one of the few things in this world that you can count on even before COVID-19. My best friend from kindergarten through 8th grade was not my best friend in high school. We did not have a fall out, a fight, or anything of the sort. We simply grew apart. There was some tension about it from time to time, but for the most part it just became a normal part of the day to day. My freshman year of high school I met the man who would be the best man in my wedding (and I in his). While we live hours apart I would be there for him in a second to this day and I do not doubt that he would do the same. It is a relationship I cherish and one that grew from the diminishing of the previous friendship.

Paul and Barnabas’ situation was similar, but with one small exception. They disagreed on something. Paul and Barnabas want to go check on some churches they had established. Barnabas wants to take John Mark. John Mark traveled with them in the past but during one of these trips he left them in the middle of it. While we do not know why he left we do know that Paul must not have agreed with the decision because he does NOT want John Mark to go with them now.  

Barnabas is in a tough spot. He has two friends whom he wants to travel with, yet they are not getting along. If you have ever had to deal with two people, who were both your friends, not getting along then you know how stressful it can be. Unfortunately, so it would seem at the time, they could not come to an understanding and decided not to travel together. Barnabas left and took Mark with him while Paul decided to travel with Silas.  

On the trip with Silas, Paul discovers a disciple named Timothy in Lystra. The same Timothy that Paul is going to pour into and eventually write 1&2 Timothy to encourage him. Drawing conclusions can often be dangerous, but I wonder if Paul has time to invest in Timothy and a desire to take him on the journey with him if Barnabas and John Mark are part of the traveling party?  

When we take single moments of our lives they can seem to be wholly good, bad, sad, happy, etc… Our journey through this world is a long and complicated one. Sometimes we can have a happy/feel good moment that spirals us down the wrong path while other times we can go through something hard or traumatic that creates in us an opportunity to be and do better.

Me and my friend from kindergarten ended up reconnecting after college and we even coached varsity football together. His life was different and he was so happy with this wife and children and the people he had surrounded himself with. I cannot help but wonder what types of things the Lord is working out for me and you during this time in our lives. It would be easy, and wrong, to assume this is all just a set back and something to wipe from our memories as quickly as we could. I, however, trust in the one that has numbered my days and has worked them out for my good. 

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