A conversation between Paul and some other followers of the Lord in Acts has stirred me once again. I ask you to read with me Paul's response to his friends' urging him a certain direction...a direction in which they believed the Lord was urging him, as well.
"What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."
A prophet named Agabus had delivered the Word of the Lord to them that Paul would be bound in Jerusalem and delivered to the Gentiles. So of course, in the minds of Paul's companions that meant for Paul not to go, right? I mean, how would we interpret such a message? I wonder if I would have responded as Paul, knowing what was waiting on me and choosing to complete the mission anyway.
If you jump back a chapter, you will find that Paul was preparing them for his departure. The Word states that he was going "bound in the spirit" to Jerusalem. He was making them aware that every place he journeyed to came with a warning from the Lord that prison and hardships awaited him. These warnings had never made him shrink back before...and it wouldn't this time either.
I wonder how we interpret the Lord's warnings in our lives...
Have I ever asked the Lord for direction and then felt Him letting me know the danger of a certain road...and then subsequently assumed that this warning meant not to go that way? How often have I shrunk back in fear when the Lord intended for me to step forward in faith?
Do we assume that the Lord will only lead us through green pastures and beside still waters? I wonder if we think that the only path that leads to the valley of the shadow of death and the table in front of our enemies is a path that we chose on our own...or at the leading of the enemy.
I am certain that according to the Word, the Lord doesn't just lead us along smooth, easy roads. I don't know where He may lead next...but as long as He is the One leading, I will follow.
Father, Paul rightly took Your leading as a warning, not a command to turn back. Help me to embrace Your warnings and walk by faith with You on whatever terrain You choose. In Jesus' Name. Amen.