For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
When it is all said and done, what God wants from us is not success as much as faithfulness. Results and fruit are His work. Faithfulness and obedience are ours.
God had a future for the apostle Paul, even when he had been arrested and thrown into prison in Jerusalem. Jesus reminded Paul that He knew what he was doing in Jerusalem and approved it. It had been controversial for Paul to go to Jerusalem to begin with. Agabus had warned him that he would be imprisoned, and sure enough, he was. One could even look at Paul’s circumstances and conclude that Paul blew it, that Paul was outside of the will of God and never should have gone.
But our job, if you will, is to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit. And you can always anticipate opposition when you do that. We gauge success as bigger and better. But time has a way of sorting things out. And what may be deemed as a success today may, in the future, be viewed as a failure. What may be looked upon today as a failure may be regarded as a success in the days to come.
As God is at work in our lives, we may see only a brushstroke here or a dash of color there and say, “Wait. What is this? I don’t know if I agree.” We need to step back and give God room. There will be an expected end. There will be a completion. And ultimately, it will be good. God had a future for Paul, and God has a future for you.
And in that final day, Jesus is not going to say, “Well done, good and successful servant.” He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” So be faithful. (By Greg Laurie)