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October 18, 2022



By Katie Pearson

“You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.” 2 Timothy 3:10-11

When have your best-laid plans been interrupted? Has the disruption caused you to question God or your calling? Not every season of your life feels like it is directly fulfilling your calling. Take heart; all leaders face obstacles that sometimes cause pain and suffering. It’s excruciating to be moving forward with momentum and joy, then face an unexplainable roadblock. However, when reflecting on Paul’s story, we realize how normal it is to get sidetracked.

Sometimes you will feel utterly convinced that you know where God is leading. You do all the preparation necessary to continue along the path, only to find that the opportunity has ceased to exist. This can happen for many reasons, some more obvious than others. I even moved my family to another state for a ministry role, only to have my daughter get sick and require yet another move for medical care. I was confused and devastated. How could I trust God again? In Acts 16, Paul and Timothy thought God was taking them in one direction, only to discover God had other plans:
“They went to Phrygia, and then on through the region of Galatia. Their plan was to turn west into an Asian province, but the Holy Spirit blocked that route. So they went to Mysia and tried to go north to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t let them go there either.” (Acts 16:6–8, MSG)

It doesn’t say why Paul and Timothy were redirected, but it’s important to note that it doesn’t appear to be their fault. We don’t see any blame occurring. If our heart is bent on following Jesus, we can quickly shift from “Why Me?” to “What’s Next?” Paul may have counseled Timothy through this mysterious redirection.

Sometimes God simply brings us to a full stop. Paul experienced this during his multiple experiences in prison. Yet, he continued to worship, write, and preach the Word. Frustration and doubt occur at a soul level when duty (or worse) threatens to remove us from our greater purpose if we forget that we belong to God and not to ourselves. Accepting these rhythms will feed our souls and keep God at the center of our leadership. What appears to be something in the way might actually be the way.

Reflection: Often, the seasons that feel stagnant or worthless are the most essential for spiritual growth and development. We can liken these periods to winter, when the seeds are planted but growth is unseen. We know that in Christ, it’s important to “winter” well, to do the work of releasing what has gone before, and to prepare our minds and hearts for what’s coming. And we can remember that spring is just around the corner. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Recommended Resource:

Trusting God

Why is trust so difficult? Unlike all the broken promises of this world, God’s redeeming promises are absolute, trustworthy, and true. The covenants of God afford us with abundant reasons to trust God with his plan for our lives. Trusting God: Redeeming Promises of the Word small group Bible study explores the six major redeeming promises of God found in his Word. Learn more about God’s commitment to his people, the nature of a covenant, and how you can find your security in being a child of God’s redeeming promises. Learn more about God’s promises today.

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