I just returned from leading a group of Life Action friends on an epic journey in Paul’s footsteps. On the first day there, we stood together on the beach at biblical Neapolis, the place where Paul landed in response to his Macedonian call. It was also the doorway for the gospel to the Western world, eventually bringing it to us!

It was a very emotional moment for me as I looked across the sea to Paul’s past and then forward toward Philippi and the first converts in Europe.

Paul didn’t want to go to Macedonia. As he stood in Troas, looking toward Macedonia, he must have reflected on the two other places he had tried to go, but God wouldn’t let him.

I thought of the many times God wouldn’t let me go where I wanted or do what I wanted, and how loving His sovereign plan has been for me. If you are in one of those moments, looking back at the past, unsure of the future, remember that God is infinitely trustworthy!

Three times in our long ministry, I have felt like God pulled the rug out from under my feet. I sought Him. I desired His will. And I believed with all my heart that He showed me what to do. And then it all came apart! Have you been there?

One of the advantages of getting older is that I now have the perspective of time. In all three of those situations where I felt like God was “tricking” me, I could look back months or even years later and say, “Oh, thank You, Lord! Thank You for not allowing me to go that route. I tried so hard to go where I thought You wanted me to go, and You stopped me. But You did it because You love me!”

Maybe you’re standing right now in the Troas of your life. You have tried so hard to follow the Lord, going to your left and to your right, and now here you are, staring at an ocean of uncertainty.

Get on the ship! Don’t be afraid. The Lord is on the other side. But He’s in the boat with you, too. Very soon you will look back over your shoulder and see the vast ocean of the past receding behind you, as well as the beauty and the challenge of God’s future ahead of you.

A short distance from the beach where I stood is the city of Philippi. Paul would later write a letter to the church he would start there. His words ring powerfully in our ears:

“… But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14 ESV).

Press on in joy and trust—God is already where you are going!



Share via
Copy link