As Paul was returning to Jerusalem at the end of his third missionary journey, he already had a sense of where his next journey would lead; “after I have been there, I must visit Rome” (Acts 19:21). But he also knew he was about to face many difficulties; “in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me” (Acts 20:23). Paul was arrested less than ten days after arriving in Jerusalem. He probably didn’t realize it at the time, but his journey to Rome had just begun.
Paul’s journey to Rome would last about two and a half years and include many legal and physical trials, and many opportunities to demonstrate his faith in Jesus Christ. Surprisingly, it also included two long years where Paul had nothing to do but sit in prison and wait for an occasional visit with Governor Felix before being transferred to the courts of Rome.
“As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, ‘That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.'”
This must have been a difficult time for someone accustomed to being so actively involved in ministry. Paul was treated well in this prison, but after receiving specific instructions to minister in Rome, two years must have felt like a painfully long time.
We are never told of God’s reason for this waiting period. Many times, waiting is necessary to allow other events to occur and other people to be properly positioned. And many times, waiting is necessary because we need to better learn some of God’s truths…or we simply need a good rest.
Paul was about to face his most challenging journey and possibly his most significant ministry opportunity; “Take courage! As you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome” (Acts 23:11). On his journey, Paul faced a severe storm, shipwreck, snakebite, and many threats on his life, but Paul was also given the opportunity to minister to the leaders of the Roman Empire.
Much of our own journey involves patience and learning how to trust and wait on God. Almost nothing seems to occur as fast as we would like; difficult situations take longer to resolve, people take longer to mature, and ministries take longer to grow. But our present circumstances always serve a purpose!
If we have earnestly sought God and not received specific direction, it’s possible we are simply being told to wait – wait and be refreshed; wait and spend time abiding in His presence; wait…and prepare. Let’s continue to rejoice and learn to trust Him even more during our times of waiting.
Have a Christ Centered Day!
God’s Daily Word Ministries
**** Reading Plan ****
May 29 2 Samuel 14:1-15:22; John 18:1-24; Psalm 119:96-112; Proverbs 16:8-9