The Eutychus Effect (Ros' Blog)
We had a TV for only a year when I was a child, before it died and wasn’t replaced until many years later when I was 16. But the programme I most remember from that one year was the one my mother never missed, All Gas and Gaiters. I remember in one episode the chaplain played by Derek Nimmo is having a word with the Bishop...
“I’m rather worried about the Archdeacon, my Lord.”
“Oh really? Why? What’s the matter with him?”
“Well he fell asleep during the sermon on Sunday, my Lord.”
“Oh, that’s not serious. Who was preaching?”
“He was, my Lord!”
I always think of this episode whenever I read the story of Eutychus in Acts chapter 20:
“On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third storey and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘He’s alive!’ Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.”
This story can be a good analogy for what happens when illness or accident suddenly leaves a person with a disability they didn’t previously have. While you’re getting on with life and not really bothering much about anything – nodding off and dozing, if you like – your life suddenly falls out of the window and comes crashing down on the pavement below. It looks like the end of everything. All your hopes and dreams lie shattered on that pavement. Nothing you planned is now going to come to pass. You might as well consign the life you dreamed of to the grave, bury your visions of what your life was going to be.
But this is also the story of the God for whom nothing is impossible. It’s a story of resurrection. Out of the wreckage of everything you were looking forward to comes a new life full of unimaginable vitality. It might not be the life you previously planned. It might be one spent in a wheelchair, or in bed, or without sight or hearing. But it’s also a life in which you becoming a living, breathing testimony to the power of God, and of His wisdom in choosing you as a demonstration of His kingdom, of the fact that all of us have a part to play, that each one of us is valued and loved and needed if His house is to be full.
Who could be “greatly comforted” by your story today? Who could look at your life with all its limitations and be encouraged that God never gives up on anyone, and still has a role for each of us to play in fulfilling His purposes? Is there someone you could share your testimony with today?