Acts 13:4-8 – Why does God allow obstacles and challenges?

The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Selecia and sailed from there to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper. They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabus and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. (Acts 13:4-8)

This Scripture reminds us again that Paul and Barnabus were sent to Cypress by the Holy Spirit. Yesterday we learned when God sends us on a mission, we should pray and fast, ask for prayer and support, and accept the mission. Today we see that timing is important. When God calls you to leave, go immediately. No trouble was reported on the sea or their land travel across the island to Paphos. God’s timing is always perfect. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ERV) tells us: “God gave us the ability to think about his world, but we can never completely understand everything he does. And yet, he does everything at just the right time.”

Does that mean when the Holy Spirit nudges us to do something for God that we won’t encounter any problems? Absolutely not. Paul and Barnabus encounter the enemy twice, once in Bar-Jesus, a sorcerer (black magic) and false Jewish prophet and the second time in Elymas, also a sorcerer.

God allows the enemy to bring obstacles and challenges in our lives for several reasons. 1) He wants to save us from our problems. We must trust Him and not be afraid. (Isaiah 12:2) 2) If the mission is too easy, we won’t have to rely on God, and we might not give him the glory. 3) God uses obstacles and challenges to improve ourselves and others. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20)

When God sends you on a mission you should pray and fast, ask for prayer and support, accept the mission, start when God tells you to, and use the power of the Holy Spirit to help you with obstacles and challenges.

Father God, I praise you for filling me with the Holy Spirit so I can overcome the obstacles and challenges facing me today. Thank you (perhaps in advance) for giving me a mission that brings happiness and encourages others so I can have a purpose in Your kingdom and give you glory. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Acts 13:4-8 – Why does God allow obstacles and challenges?

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