1After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara. 2There we boarded a ship sailing for Phoenicia. 3We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload its cargo.
4We went ashore, found the local believers,a and stayed with them a week. These believers prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem. 5When we returned to the ship at the end of the week, the entire congregation, including womenb and children, left the city and came down to the shore with us. There we knelt, prayed, 6and said our farewells. Then we went aboard, and they returned home.
7The next stop after leaving Tyre was Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sistersc and stayed for one day. 8The next day we went on to Caesarea and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food. 9He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy.
10Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. 11He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.’”12When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
13But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.”14When it was clear that we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”
It is obvious Paul is heading for trouble. The Holy Spirit makes that clear several times in this short passage. The people around Paul see this as a warning not to go to Jerusalem, but Paul seems only to see it as preparing him (or them) for what will come.
Paul obviously doesn’t see hardships as something that should be avoided, but rather used to glorify God, and it is apparent that Paul is doing God’s will. How often do I struggle to avoid hardships and trials, when they are exactly what God intends for me?
Lord, help me to know when you want me to go through a trial, rather than avoid it, and help me to have the courage to do what you want. Your will be done Lord.