«And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me» (Acts 20:22, 23).
In the light of future events, some people tend to manifest anxiety in advance. In many cases, anxiety is associated with catastrophic thoughts and events that will only happen in their imagination. In other cases, the fear of real situations that have not happened seem to paralyze them. In the case of the apostle Paul, he was sure that, wherever he went, real tragic situations would greet him. In his voyage to Jerusalem, he had met with some brothers from the city of Miletus. When he said goodbye, he confessed to them, «now Igo bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.» How could he be anxiety-free in the ace of suffering and abuse that are about to happen? What did he do to face such situations with courage and optimism?
The Scripture says that Paul had only one thing on his mind: joyfully finishing the task that God had assigned to him. «But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God» (v. 24).
Paul had a clear purpose in his life. All his attention, efforts and commitment were directed not to control or reduce his anxiety, not to fight against the injustices of life, and not to condemn the evil of his persecutors but to achieve the goal of spreading the good news of God’s love.
Many times, to avoid pain, anxiety or suffering, only the pleasant truths of the gospel are presented. When difficulties come along, they are perceived as unusual and not in conformity to the will of God. On the contrary, it is written that «we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God» (Acts 14:22). Even so, we can be free of anxiety if we diligently fulfill the work that was given to us, and turn our eyes to the One who, for every problem has already planned a solution.
Do you clearly know the purpose of your life? Do you acknowledge the task God has given you? Remember that «Jesus sees the end from the beginning, and in every difficulty He has His way prepared to bring relief. Abiding in Christ, we can do all things through Him who strengthens us.» (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, ch. 58, p. 297).