Miss God’s Will For Your Life? By Patty LaRoche

Sometimes I question if I missed God’s will for my life. What if the choices I made were not God’s best for the Kingdom? I mean, what if God really wanted me to become a lawyer who would fight for those who had been incorrectly incarcerated? I do like to argue and to be a hero, so maybe that was the direction I was to take. Or what if I should have been a horse trainer? How could someone love horses like I do and not use that passion? Then there always is the paramedic profession. Granted, I once performed the Heimlich on a lady who, as it turned out, wasn’t choking, but perhaps I could redeem myself.

Do you ever waste your time with such senseless questions? Paul, a “servant of God,” certainly had the opportunity to do just that. In Acts 16: 6-8, Luke writes this:

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.  When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.  So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.

Did you catch it, or did you blow right past it like I did the first dozen times I read it? This is not a leisurely stroll on the local jogging trail. Historians write that Paul’s journey involved thousands of miles of walking, all while trying to figure out what God wanted him to do. I’m frustrated, just thinking about it. Then we come to verse nine:

During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”  After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Hooray! Celebration time! Finally, a clear direction from God. Strap on your worn-out sandals, Paul. God has plans for you and your friends to tell others about His Son. You soon will be able to sit around a few campfires and share your faith!

Uh, maybe not. Time (perhaps weeks) goes by with no clear opportunity. In fact, the only significant occurrence in scripture is the appearance of a fortune teller who keeps irritating Paul and his companions. No doubt his nerves are a little frayed when he says to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” Which it does.

Good, spiritual move, Paul… until that is, the locals take exception to this exorcism, drag Paul and Silas before the city officials, strip them, “severely” flog them, bind them in chains and throw them into the inner dungeon of the prison. Now, if I’m Silas, I’m going to be looking for a new BFF, and if I’m Paul, I’m going to be throwing a hissy fit to God. And I’m definitely going to be questioning if I missed God’s call on my life.

Not on their eternal radar.

Verse 25-26: And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bands were loosed.

Read the rest of Acts 16. Because of this incarceration, the jailer (and his family) become Christians, and soon a solid Christian community is formed.

We, like Paul, never know how God is using us, but one thing is for certain. No matter what our circumstances, no matter what job we have or the spouse we have chosen or where we live or what problems we are dealing with, God can use us. And if our life isn’t working out like we originally thought it would?

Paul has the answer.

Praise God!

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