He was in Ephesus about to sail toward Jerusalem. As he was speaking farewells to the Ephesian elders he says, "And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy..." (Acts 20:22-24a)
On his journey he arrives in Ptolemais where Philip's four daughters prophesied--we are not told their words--and then a prophet named Agabus gave this warning to Paul after he took Paul's belt and bound his own hands and feet, "Thus says the Holy Spirit, 'So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" (Acts 21:11)
Then those with Paul pleaded with him not to go to Jerusalem. And what did he do? He went with these words, "I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." (Acts 21:13)
Wow. Let's break this down for a minute.
Paul knew where God was leading him to go--Jerusalem. He was bound in the spirit to journey there. He received multiple warnings that his lot would include being chained by the Jews. Yet, those warnings were not given by God to thwart his plans! Did you catch that? He knew the direction God was leading--in his spirit there was peace--yet that did not equal ease. Wow.
How about you and me? As children of God we are not promised a road without bumps or even caverns. Rather, we are promised God's grace and merciful presence through the journey--chains and all. I was listening to a sermon by John Piper yesterday and he said, and I paraphrase, "When God does/allows one thing into our lives, He is doing a billion other things we do not even know about. We better be slow to criticize His little bumps." Sobering, huh?!
Our amazing, awesome, Holy God is sovereign, friend. We are not promised ease on these earthly roads but praise Him He promises peace. Live before your audience of One this day. He is worthy.
For further nourishment: James 1