“When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.’
“’Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’
“Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’” (Acts 22:17-21)
Paul loved the Jerusalem Jews and wanted to introduce them to Jesus. He had been with them when his ministry began with the same burning desire, but Jesus told him to go far away because they wouldn’t listen to his testimony.
Paul didn’t yet understand God’s plan to bring all the Gentiles into His family before He saved the Jews.
If Paul hadn’t involved God in his plans, Paul may have stayed in Jerusalem. His life would’ve been shortened and wasted, and God would’ve had to use someone else to tell the Gentiles about Jesus.
Most of us understand Paul’s frustration. We have things we want to do, but they don’t seem to be in God’s plan. I want to travel the country and spend more time with family. God wants me to spend huge amounts of time writing a novel. I’m not the greatest writer, so He’s sent people to help me. My editor told me I must cut my characters in half—another rewrite. I’ve spent many years writing this novel. Another writer could have written it in six months. But the journey has been worthwhile—learning lessons, loving friends, and becoming closer to Jesus.
Paul went on to fulfill his destiny because he listened. When Paul went to heaven and met Jesus, I can imagine Jesus embraced him and said, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
When we listen to and follow Jesus, He’ll say the same to us. How sweet it will be to hear those words.
Father, I praise you for sending me on a journey. Thank you for the friends I have met and will meet and the lessons I’ve learned. Help me recognize the voice of Jesus so I can follow Him and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”