Paul had an extraordinarily active life. It’s exhausting just to read about his missionary journeys: the many times he was shipwrecked, persecuted, imprisoned, and beaten. Finally, he was accused of various crimes by the Jewish authorities and exercised his right as a Roman citizen to appeal his case to Caesar (Acts 25:11). When he got to Rome, after another adventurous journey (Acts 27:1–28:14), he was placed under house arrest, with a soldier to guard him (Acts 28:16).
Imagine how he felt. After spending most of his adult life traveling around the whole Mediterranean world, preaching and teaching and arguing, and later baptizing and founding churches, suddenly he found himself confined to a rented lodging, all alone except for a guard, in a place where the new movement of Christianity was viewed with suspicion. What did he do?
He found a new way of exercising discipleship. Instead of a life of constant motion, he discerned a call to greater stability. Instead of seeking out and preaching to large groups, he “received all who came to him.” He responded to a call to radical change.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, so can we. Retirement, the empty-nest experience, widowhood—all these states of life might call for the kind of radical change that Paul experienced. Can we let go of our assumptions about how God may be calling us?
—Excerpted from Answering God’s Call by Barbara Lee