Acts 10:27-33 and Confusion When God is in Control

Peter-with-CorneliusI tend to think that when God is in control and people are actively obeying his leading and guiding that everything will be very predictable and nice and neat. It seems like this would be the case, after all God is a God of order and not of chaos. Therefore, it would only seem logical that this order would manifest itself in the Body of Christ.

True as this may sound, it is not always the case. That is why I love the story of Peter and Cornelius. It is extremely obvious that both men were being faithful in this story. An angel was sent to Cornelius, who obeyed, and a vision and message was sent to Peter, who obeyed. Once Peter arrived at Cornelius’ house, look at the exchange that takes place:

27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found that many had assembled; 28 and he said to them, ‘You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without objection. Now may I ask why you sent for me?’ 30 Cornelius replied, ‘Four days ago at this very hour, at three o’clock, I was praying in my house when suddenly a man in dazzling clothes stood before me. 31 He said, “Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon, who is called Peter; he is staying in the home of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.” 33 Therefore I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. So now all of us are here in the presence of God to listen to all that the Lord has commanded you to say.’

Pay close attention to verses 29 and 33. Neither Peter nor Cornelius know what is going on. Neither of them know why they are meeting with each other. They are both confused as to why this meeting is taking place.

It is clear that it is God who orchestrated this meeting, not either of them. And it is equally clear that God did not give the whole vision of what was happening to either of them. Each of them was given a piece of the mission/vision and were asked to be faithful with the piece they had been given. Because they did not understand the whole scope of what God was doing, there is this confusing exchange between Peter and Cornelius where Peter wants to know why he is there and Cornelius wants to know what Peter is supposed to say. But because they were faithful with the piece they each had, this exchange could happen.

There are times in our own lives and ministries when things do not seem to make sense. It is precisely at those times when we need to be faithful with what we know we have been asked to do. We are rarely given the whole picture of what God is doing, but if we are willing to be used by God, we are given a piece of it. God does not call us to understand everything. Rather, he calls us to be faithful with what he has called us to do. If we are faithful, then there could be times when we have a meeting like Peter and Cornelius, where we gather with other Christians and no one quite understands why. Rest assured, God knows, and God is in control. Even if it seems confusing, God is in control.

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