For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. —Philippians 2:13, NAS
Years ago I talked to a minister who came to me at a place where I was preaching in the northern part of England. He said, “I’m in the worst bondage. I think I’ve married the wrong woman.”
I asked, “How long have you been married?”
He replied, “Twenty-five years!”
“Well,” I said, “what if you have married the wrong one? What are you going to do?”
He did not know. But he was all torn up about it.
Looking back, many of us have doubts about this or that, wondering whether we did do the right thing. The apostle Paul would say, “But it doesn’t matter. What is in the past is in the past. You don’t have to decide.”
I think one of the most interesting discussions is whether or not Paul was right to go to Jerusalem in Acts 21. We read that different people warned him, and even Agabus prophesied in the Spirit and said, “You shouldn’t go to Jerusalem!” But Paul still went.
You may say that Paul would not make a mistake, but Luke says they spoke “in the Spirit” and said he should not go. So it looks to me like Paul disobeyed. Now I do not think Paul gave it that much thought; he just said, “I’m going to go.” Looking back on it, however, he could say in Philippians 1:12, “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” So he was not concerned whether he had been right or wrong. He was concerned that the gospel kept going, and that is what he was happy about.
Many of us are not concerned whether the gospel goes on but rather, “Was I right?” and “What about me?” Paul said it does not matter. Because who knows? The outcome is unknown. One does not have to know whether one is totally right or totally wrong. Leave it to God to order all your ways!
Excerpted from When God Says “Well Done!” (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1993).