Acts 21:37 - Acts 28:31
Sometimes the ways of God just don't make sense. One of the first persons I met when I became a Christian was Jack. Jack was a man whose life was, I thought, fully given over to the Lord doing everything he could in order to serve Christ. One of my first experiences with him was driving his Ford Fairlane into Seattle where he was going to be taking responsibility as the preacher of a church.
Later, he lived about fifty miles from me in Oregon when we were both in preaching ministries. He became that person to whom I went for sanity. He was the one who always listened and occasionally took the proverbial "two by four" and hit me with it because I was blaming everybody else for my responsibility.
I remember well when I moved to Illinois to come to school. It wasn't long after that, that Jack moved to southern California and then we got word that his teenaged daughter had been kidnapped. Within about two weeks we learned that she had been tortured, murdered and thrown into the hills outside of San Bernardino.
You would think that when you are doing the things of God, everything would turn out right.
You certainly sense when you read the book of Acts that it becomes one of the dilemmas the apostle Paul faces. We've encountered his conversion in Acts 9. We've seen the gospel spread across the world. He's gone on these very specific mission trips on behalf of God. He has taken the gospel in the places that God has directed him. He has followed God's leading. He has gathered an offering to go back to Jerusalem. When he delivers it to the temple he's arrested. There's a riot. He's about to get beaten when he appeals to the centurion as a Roman citizen and is taken out of the crowd and away from the beating. Then there's this rather interesting comment. In the midst of all this apparent chaos, Paul hears Jesus say to him in Acts 23:11 "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome."
Strange way to get to Rome. And yet, reflective of the kinds of things that Paul has been hearing from God in Acts 9, Acts 22. We'll hear it again in Acts 26. He reflects on it in 2 Timothy 4 when he talks about his own relationship with God, that he was destined to be the apostle to kings, to Gentiles; that he would speak in God's behalf in places that no one else could speak. And yet, here he is, under arrest.