When Jesus approached Paul near Damascus, He told him through Ananias that he was to be “My chosen instrument to take My message to the Gentiles and to kings as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” (Acts 9:15) An ominous assignment!
Returning from his third missionary journey, Paul told the elders at Ephesus that he had been told “by the Holy Spirit that in city after city, jail and suffering lay ahead.” (20:23) In Caesarea, he told those wanting him to go hide himself from danger, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem, but even to die for the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21:13) This was very much like the response Peter got from Jesus, when He outlined the sequence of His certain death approaching in Jerusalem. “Get behind me, Satan! You are not thinking God’s thoughts but man’s.”
This is really bold devotion to God’s assignment! Both Paul and Jesus were totally committed to God’s plan for reconciling men to Himself through them, even if it would cost them their lives. Paul must have been “prayed-up” to prepare him for the moment, when carried on the shoulders of the Roman guards to get him out of the murderous hands of the Jewish mob, asking if he could have a word with his accusers. He saw and seized the opportunity to speak publicly to a large crowd of people. (37, 39) This eventually did get him imprisoned and much later executed, but it provided many months of opportunities for him to speak before Jewish leaders, Roman authorities, soldiers, and judges.
None of Paul’s difficult circumstances happened by accident. All was planned and known by the Lord, who is always busy bringing glory to Himself and bringing new children into His adopted family, in belief and trust. He is always in control, sovereignly bringing to pass His unstoppable plan. Nothing can kill us or stop us, until God is through using us to accomplish what He has planned to do through us.
O Lord, help me to trust You in the difficult circumstances that naturally come in life. May You use every crisis to Your glory and the extension of Your kingdom. I trust You to preserve my health and my life until such time as You have completed what tasks You created me for.