~ Stacey Robinson
Lydia? Oh Lydia, what can you teach us? Your story has found its place in God’s word. Thousands of years later, after your life, your story remains to inspire us.
The story of Lydia is found in Acts chapter 16 and if we are not careful, it is easy to quickly skim by her. God knew Lydia. God watched as the assembly of women met by the riverbank in the town of Philippi. The Bible tells us in 1 Samuel 16:7 that “Truly, God does not see what man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord sees the heart”. God saw Lydia among the women that day and knew her heart. I believe that her story is an example of a divine appointment that God orchestrated for his beloved. The beauty of this divine appointment is that Lydia’s life was forever changed.
As Paul and his missionary team crossed paths with Lydia at the riverbank, I can’t help but wonder what the Holy Spirit prompted Paul to say. We do know that “the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul”. How many of us have felt a prompting by the Holy Spirit? I wonder how many divine appointments I have missed because my own doubt or fear got in the way? Lydia soaked in every word that Paul spoke and she heard the Holy Spirit’s voice. Lydia was known as a worshiper of God, but it was this divine encounter with the Holy Spirit that her passion for God was ignited. I believe at that moment God became more than head knowledge to her; she truly met the Savior.
Lydia and her household were baptized and she urged Paul and his friends to stay with her if she was found to be a faithful follower. The Bible does not give any details of the members of her household or their number, but reading between the lines; I imagine that she was zealous in sharing her faith to her family. The Bible also tells us that Lydia “urged” Paul and his friends to stay with her if she was found to be a faithful follower. Lydia did indeed “respond” to the Holy Spirit. She put her faith into action. I can feel her newfound passion for God through her spoken words and actions.
Paul and his friends were obedient to God. Did Paul know anything about Lydia’s life? Could he see the fruit of his obedience to God? Lydia was a seller of purple fabric. Since purple dye was extremely difficult to make only the elite and wealthy could afford to buy it. As a seller of this fabric, Lydia had access to the most influential people in the empire. I can only imagine the incredible witness she became and all the lives that she in turn touched for the kingdom.
Lydia you have given me the courage to listen to that still small voice that urges me to reach out and be the hands and feet of Jesus. By your story, I know that God has a plan for each of our lives and when the timing is perfect HE will reach for our hearts because of his love for us. Lydia your passion is contagious and I know that any amount of fear I have to fight to dispel is worth being obedient to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. God’s divine appointments are a testimony of his grace and love for us.