Relaymedia

Faith Changes us

By Bonnie Ricks
( [email protected] ) Jan 21, 2006 04:20 PM EST

After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken. They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. (Acts 18:1-3, 18-19)

PRISCILLA SPEAKS ABOUT HOW FAITH CHANGES US

Yes, yes... everything is almost ready. Almost ready. Seems that's all I've been doing lately is getting everything ready... Here I am in a strange town, preparing a meal for strangers, opening my home to people I've never met,... who'd have ever thought all of this would happen? Especially to me...

Aquilla and I were happy in Rome. His business was going well... and I loved our home. I loved the bustle of the city... Rome... the capital of the world. It was really something. And then... we were forced out. Forced to pack up everything we owned and leave... just because we are Jews. I was so frightened. The soldiers were there, shouting, waving their swords, telling us to get out. I can't count the number of things I broke trying to pack so hurriedly. The whole day is just a blur now... a blur of fear and anger and frustration. Then, suddenly, we were on a ship bound for Corinth... a city I'd only heard of... and I hadn't heard anything good. I was so scared. My whole world was falling apart right before my eyes. If it hadn't been for my husband, I would probably have fallen apart myself. But Aquilla kept assuring me that this was God's will for us... At first, I had a hard time believing him.

Then we met Paul. I'll never forget the first time I saw him... short, bandy legs... rough demeanor... and a personality so powerful... well, I'll admit he frightened me a little at first. But not Aquilla. Aquilla liked him immediately. Since they were both tent makers, they had something in common. Soon, they were fast friends. Then I began to notice that Paul was different from other tent makers... in fact, he was different from any other man I'd ever met... I soon learned what made the difference in him. The Messiah.

I remember so clearly the day Paul told us about Jesus... about the good news of His sacrifice for us... and that He was the one the prophets had foretold. Here we were on a ship bound for an alien land, frightened about the future, surrounded by others who were also filled with fear. And as I listened... and believed... I felt the burden of my fear lifted from me. The feeling of freedom was glorious! Suddenly I was a new person... and all I wanted to do was tell everyone I could find about the freedom and hope I had found in Jesus!

Then we landed in Corinth. I must admit that at first, a little of the fear returned. But Aquilla and I both found strength for what we had to face through the message of the Messiah. We needed that strength in Corinth... more than ever before in our lives. Life was difficult, at best. The ways of the Corinthians were so strange. The whole city revolved around the worship of the goddess, Aphrodite. It would have been hard just being a Jew there. It was even harder being a "Christ-one", as we were called. But Paul was patient with Aquilla, and especially with me. As he taught us more and more about Jesus, we became more and more excited and bold about sharing the good news with others.

I know now that God was preparing us for what He wanted us to do... giving us time to build our faith... granting us that sojourn in Corinth before¡K before... well, Paul is really something... When he told us he was leaving to go spread the word into Syria, I wanted to say, "Have a nice trip." I had finally gotten everything put away, and was beginning to feel at home in Corinth. I had made a few friends and was really starting to enjoy my life there, surprising as it may sound.

I was in the middle of preparing dinner when Aquilla announced that we were going with Paul to Syria. I almost dropped the bowl of food I was carrying to the table. For a few moments, all of the fear I had felt in leaving Rome returned. There were no vicious soldiers standing at my door this time... no shouting... no brandishing swords... but still... again... I was being asked to face the unknown... being told I must again pack up my belongings and leave my home... I mean, I love my husband. And I had grown to love Paul. But I need roots. I need the security of a home to call my own. I need friends around me... other women I can share with. And friendships take time to develop. Suddenly, here was the man I've committed to live my life with telling me to once again leave it all behind and go to a place I'd never heard of...

The only thing... the one and only thing that kept me going at that point in my life... was my faith in Jesus... As Aquilla and I talked and prayed together, I began to realize that our meeting Paul was not by chance. The Lord had planned that meeting... He had planned for us - Aquilla and me - to be adopted into His family... And He planned for us to be a part of spreading the good news about the Messiah.

So now we're in Ephesus. And I'm not certain I will ever adjust to this city. It is even stranger than Corinth. And we are not well liked here at all. In fact, the people react so strongly to us, there are times that we fear for our lives. These people are hungry for the message of Christ... but most of them don't know it. They have a difficult time understanding a loving God who sacrificed His only Son for them, when the only gods they ever heard of demand sacrifices from them.

Paul and Aquilla and I have been diligent, though, even though it endangers us. We keep preaching the message of Christ to anyone who will listen. And now... well, now there are some who believe... a handful that is growing larger every day. And our small home is a haven for them... just about the only place they can feel safe while listening to the message we have for them... So they come here... More and more of them every day. Some stay for days... others, weeks.

Funny, isn't it? Me, Priscilla... the woman to whom the most important thing in life used to be an orderly, quiet nest. Everything in its place. Unable to tolerate strangers in my home... ever. And now... well, look around you. Soon, this room will be filled with people I don't know. And it will be anything but quiet and orderly. Amazing how faith can change a person, isn't it?

From Dogwood Ministries, Inc.

J-R-and-Bonnie@dogwoodministries.org

Used with Permission