I’ve lived most my life feeling like I was out of step with the rest of the world…. Around, but not really in; seen, but not really visible; tuned in but on a different frequency…. Like I came so close to making the cut or getting into the venue but was stopped on the wrong side of the line. I’m sure many can relate!!
Now I’m not saying any of this to make you feel sorry for me – like everyone else I’ve lived my share of challenges and triumphs and been both wounded and blessed along the way. Now as I approach my 50th year on this globe I can honestly say I’m so thankful God made me as I am, quirks and all; because they make me uniquely me and connect me uniquely to all God had in mind when he wanted a ‘me’ on the earth!
But sometimes I wonder what the purpose was for a whole lot of the “almost but not quite” moments of my life.
Reading through the start of Acts I found someone who I think could relate… I know I relate to him! In Acts 1:12-25, the apostles have returned to Jerusalem after seeing Jesus’ ascendance to heaven and are waiting the giving of the Holy Spirit.
It says from verse 15 – “In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) and said, “Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. (With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) “For,” said Peter, “it is written in the Book of Psalms: “ ‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’ and, “ ‘May another take his place of leadership.’ Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.”
There’s a lot going on there, I know. But Matthias jumped out at me in a new way as I read this. I felt like I got him! Peter had said they needed to choose a replacement for Judas, one who had been with them and Jesus all along. I can imagine being Matthias. You’d faithfully followed, learned, grown and believed. You’d been as close to the inner circle as you could get without actually being IN the inner circle, and now someone just like you was about to be given the opportunity to step into new areas. I wonder if there was that voice in his head saying “it won’t be you. They don’t really see you, they are happy to keep you at arms length.” I wonder if he looked around and saw the qualities in all the other possible candidates?
It could have been a demoralizing process for a Matthias. I know many years ago this is what I would have seen and focused on as I read this story.
Matthias was a follower, a believer but he hadn’t been called by Jesus. He was there the entire time Jesus ministered on earth but he wasn’t one of the 12, those closest to Jesus. Then Jesus dies, is resurrected and goes back to heaven. It seems like his opportunity to step closer to Jesus is over. It’s too late. It’s done.
Then Peter speaks up and says that they need to replace Judas. He isn’t chosen by Jesus like the other apostles, but is nominated by those around him. Matthias isn’t their instant favorite, either… it’s between him and another man. Then they don’t even choose him based on his merit or character or anointing, but they cast lots!
So he slides in to apostleship after years of faithfully orbiting, as a replacement for a betrayer, not chosen by Jesus but nominated by men and then picked by an heads or tails scenario. Not exactly the dream elevation! He could have felt less than. He could have allowed his entrance to what God was about to do across the world to make him insecure.
But I have a feeling Matthias saw something that for a long time I didn’t see. It may have looked like it was too late, but in fact Matthias was perfectly positioned for just the right time.
From the beginning of time as God laid out the plan for the salvation of humanity, Matthias was earmarked for his moment in history. He was to be the fulfillment of the words King David spoke in Psalm 108:9 that Peter referred to as they sought to be obedient to God.
Matthias wasn’t an after thought or a fill-in, he was a fulfillment of prophecy. I need to let that sink in. When God spoke through David hundreds of years earlier, he spoke of Matthias. Wow.
How that changes things!!!! Matthias wasn’t a “not quite” he was a “not yet”. He wasn’t forgotten, he was reserved. His faithfulness and stick-ability wasn’t wasted, it was preparation. And when God hit go over his life, it was a door that had always been his.
As we too look towards God outpouring over his people and the world again, perhaps we are about to step into our own moment of fulfillment… who knows what has been said over us in heavenly places and God has been preparing us for such a time as this? Perhaps all the times I thought I was missing out had actually prepared me for my own “just right” in God. I want to be like Matthias and be ready because God is so good and his timing is perfect if I will just stay faithful and trust him in it.