Paul was sitting on the beach in Troas, watching the sun set over the Aegean Sea. I’m guessing that he was tired and curious and working hard on his commitment to be content in every situation.
He’d been walking across Asia minor for several months. He left Antioch after his argument with Barnabas. Silas had joined him. And early in their trip, they added Timothy to the team. And they started walking. They taught in the cities Paul had visited before, near Timothy’s home town of Lystra. And then they headed west, toward Greece, on the other side of the Aegean.
It seems to have been a potentially frustrating season. Paul tried to preach in the area he was traveling through, and God wouldn’t let him. Paul tried to travel into another region, and God wouldn’t let him.
We don’t know how he was stopped for these weeks of travel. It may have been a voice, I suppose. But it may have been waking up every morning, wondering if today was the day to start doing the preaching he wanted to do, the teaching he wanted to do, and not having any freedom.
Weeks of frustration, of travel, of not being able to do the things you wanted to do. The big things of ministry.
And on this night, he walks on the beach at Troas, talking to God. “God, I’ve been trying to preach in all the places I could walk to, and you’ve stopped me. Now I’m at the end of the road. Literally. Is this water another barrier? Will I get on a boat and have you stop me again?”
He headed to bed.
And in his sleep, he had a vision. There was a man, dressed like the people in Macedonia, across the water. The man was begging him to come and help him.
When Paul got up, he and Silas and Timothy and Luke arrange for passage on a boat. They talked about it and together concluded that God had called them to go preach in Macedonia.
(from Acts 16)