Acts 20:17-34; Judges 14-15; Job 42
Paul reviewed his ministry among the Ephesians and explained why they would not be seeing him again with a moving declaration that the Holy Spirit had revealed that chains and tribulations awaited him in every city. Warnings like that didn’t worry Paul because of his goal. “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, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24) When you have a goal in life that comes from God the trials and tribulations along the way aren’t even mere annoyances – they are a vehicle to help you achieve your goal. Paul recognized that and realized that whether he was headed towards the end of life or a new stage in his commitment to testify to the gospel of the grace of God he would do so with joy. Not many of us are like Paul. We may set our hearts on a goal that we believe God gave us, but when trials and tribulations come, we begin to wonder if we misunderstood God. We ask God what we did wrong and why these trials are coming our way. The truth is that in a fallen world, following God will bring trials and tribulations. If we set our hearts and our spirits on doing what God has called us to, whatever the situation may be, we’ll be able to not only endure the trials and tribulations; we’ll thrive in them as we recognize God’s presence in the midst of them.
Oh God, I wish that life would be so easy when I follow You. That won’t accomplish Your will though. When trials and tribulations come because I’m being true and faithful to You, give me the grace to see Your presence in the midst of them. Let me rejoice that I am so close to You that others would oppose me.