A Peace that may Plot a Painful Path
Paul writes the Corinthians,
“When we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within.” (2 Cor. 7:5).
This must have been very puzzling to Paul for he knew God had called him to go into Macedonia. After the Holy Spirit had strongly impressed upon Paul not to enter Asia, he and his companions began traveling through Phrygia and Galatia. At Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but again the inner tug of the Holy Spirit said ‘No.’ They travelled on to Troas and there God spoke to Paul…
“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.” (Acts 16:9-10).
Yet, once there, Paul had times of unrest in his spirit. How so?
If you remember, from the beginning God’s call upon Paul was to include suffering. A believer, Ananias, was privy to this plan. In a vision God told him “This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for My Name.”
Jesus too, the Prince of Peace, struggled with this plan of suffering. Through that hard night of prayer He found peace only in that one plan of the Father, a plan which included pain.
Peace led Paul, yet it led him through seasons of turmoil. Peace led Christ to the cross of Calvary, and Peace will lead us through this world of troubles. “Pain and suffering are often the catalysts for life’s most profound lessons” wrote ultrarunner and author Dean Karnazes. But when we rest in the purposes of God we can accept pain with joy. Then, in this acceptance, we find peace. Adds Karnazes, “… pain is inevitable. Suffering, however, is optional.”
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).