As I read Acts 22:17-21, I saw something contrary to the egocentric faith of many people nowadays. Apostle Paul narrated how he was praying in the temple in Jerusalem and fell into a trance (an open vision); then he heard the Lord asking him to ‘make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because the people would not accept his testimony about the Lord’ (Acts 22:18).
If you see a believer leaving a violent place for a more peaceful place; people will usually say the person has no faith or that they are seeking for comfort. Many will say the person does not love the Lord, or that they love their life more than the Lord’s. We are quick to make unverified claims and conclusions about other people’s transition without knowing who is leading or guiding them.
Apostle Paul, like many of us might do, was going to give the Lord reasons why it was okay for him to stay back and work among the Jews, but the Lord insisted by saying in a more firm tone, “Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21).” No matter how much Paul loved to reach out to his own people, God was not going to send him to them, but to a people far away in the forsaken Gentile community.
The lesson we all must learn is never to be more zealous than the owner of the work. If we belong to the Lord and we are his servants, then we must always take instruction from Him. The question is, could the Lord have kept Paul safe in Jerusalem? I believe God has the power to have done that. But God does not reason like we do. He does not work out his plans and purposes as we often imagine or expect him to do. He deploys us where He chooses to. Our job is to follow while He leads us.
Sometimes we expect God to turn the stone to bread so that we can eat because He is all-powerful, but then he tells us to go and work, having released his favor and blessing upon the work. Sometimes we expect God to quench the fire, instead he allows the house to burn down. In fact, the people who crucified the Lord himself expected him to perform some signs and wonders to set himself free, but they only saw him die helplessly. Now, I am not talking about you allowing devil to have his way in your life, I am talking about you learning to distinguish between the ways of God and the ways of man.
God was powerful enough to have allowed Joseph and Mary to stay back and have their baby raised in Israel, but he told them to leave for Egypt – the same place he warned Isaac not to go to. Yet He is God. No unfairness can be traced to Him. Are you really ready to walk with God? You should learn his ways and be ready to also walk in it, irrespective of your own prejudices or what is socially or religiously desirable.