“When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.” Acts 24:27
Things seemed to be looking up.
It appeared as if Felix’s heart was warming.
Paul was given an opportunity to present his case before Felix the Governor and things were going rather well. Imagine a job interview or giving a report before a packed classroom. One waits, wonders, and well…prays, hoping for a seamless presentation and favorable results.
It appeared as if the situation was moving forward quite nicely, in that Felix informed Paul that his case would be decided soon (vs. 22). He then graciously allowed Paul to remain in “loose custody” and be granted various liberties, including unabated permission for visitation (vs. 23).
All lights were green when Felix, accompanied by his wife Drusilla, came to hear Paul speak further about faith in Jesus (vs. 24). But this is where the signals began to change. Doors started to close in succession and Paul was again being marginalized by the Governor. For nearly two years a ‘cat and mouse’ game was afoot, with Paul being the mouse (vs. 26). This season culminated with a changing of the governmental guard.
Felix was no longer in charge. Paul was stuck in prison.
How is patience produced? The answer, unfortunately, is not what we like. We tend to want things to happen quickly and without incident. But patience is only produced over time and with testing. There would be no need for patience if every aspect of our lives instantly and flawlessly converged.
We often joke about “asking for patience” because we know that that prayer if often like flipping a switch on problems. What if this is how God does his best work in us? Romans 5 affirms this:
“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that sufferings produce endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”