When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, "Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, "The Lord's will be done."
Thoughts for Today:Several months ago a close family friend came to my wife and I in distress. His life, marriage, business, and finances were falling apart. We talked with him at length -- providing both Christian counseling and support. Some of our advice was in the form of a stern warning: "If you continue on this path it will lead to the destruction of everything you value." Despite our words of caution he proceeded to create a monumental train wreck of his life.
As I read today's passage I couldn't help think about how my friend was similar to, yet the antithesis of Paul -- Paul knew the pain, suffering and difficulties that lay ahead yet continued on in full faith and service to the Lord. My friend was simply in denial -- not wanting to address his problems. Both had charted a difficult course, albeit one intentionally, the other without a hint of caution or judiciousness.
How do you think I responded when, months later my friend returned completely devastated by the events that transpired just as my wife and I had warned? You might find it Interesting that I used the last phrase of verse 14 to sum it up, "The Lord's will be done." Call me heartless, but I've had a lot of difficulty summoning up a lot of sympathy or empathy for his plight.
Questions to Ponder:With eyes wide open, Paul knowingly and intentionally went to Jerusalem -- perhaps to his own death. That is powerful. Many people misuse the gift of freewill to make stupid (I know it's harsh but it is true) choices. Some people just cannot be dissuaded no matter how much we try, and that can bring a lot of tears to the ones who love them. I believe it is our responsibility to warn, then step aside and allow the Lord's will to be done. In my friend's case, only this chapter has been written, there are a lot more blank pages still to be written. I can only hope and pray he will make better choices down the road.