"At first I objected [to God]: ‘Who has better credentials? They all know how obsessed I was with hunting out those who believed in you, beating them up in the meeting places and throwing them in jail. And when your witness Stephen was murdered, I was right there, holding the coats of the murderers and cheering them on. And now they see me totally converted. What better qualification could I have?’
"But [God] said, ‘Don’t argue. Go. I’m sending you on a long journey to outsider non-Jews.’"
Acts 22:19-21 (TM)
I’ve argued with God many times. Like a Monday morning quarterback, I can come with all sorts of rational arguments for what God should have done, what He should do, and what my life should look like. I should have gotten that job. I should have won the lottery and I would have done so many good things with the money. I could have done a better job that that person. God should really use me in this place.
On paper, Paul’s argument made a lot of sense. He would have made a great witness to the Jews. But, there is a hint of prejudice in Paul’s argument. The Jewish culture of that day placed non-Jews on the same level as stray dogs. It was likely that Paul’s argument ("let me stay in Jerusalem and witness to the Jews") was not so much about being a witness to the Jews as it was, "please don’t make me minister to those non-Jews!" Not only did Paul need to learn obedience, but he was by far the best candidate to reach out to the non-Jewish people. He learned his lesson.
Paul was from the Greek city of Tarsus, he was educated, and he was a Roman citizen by birth. God needed an educated man who understood Greek culture and had the rights of a Roman citizen to reach to the non-Jewish people outside of Judea. In retrospect, it’s easy to see why God went to such great lengths to send Paul. He was the right man for the job. His missionary journeys and his writings changed the world.
Am I arguing with God today, or am I being obedient and trusting His plan for my life?