Before he left Ephesus he called the leaders of the church together and said they'd never see him again. When he got to Israel (as it is now) everybody - his friends, church leaders, prophets - said, 'Don't go to Jerusalem. There's trouble brewing; it will be dangerous. Please don't go.'
But Paul believed it was God's will that he should go so he said, 'Sorry, I'm going even though it could be to my death.'
1. I can't imagine ever being in the sort of situation where my life could be endangered if I chose to do something but if I were and all my friends, including people I respect - such as Sean and the God Squadders - told me not to go, I very much doubt that my conviction that I knew what God wanted of me better than anyone else did would be strong enough to resist the pressure.
I was a little worried about this perceived lack of faith on my part but then I thought: God knows me, he knows what a weeble I am. He either wouldn't put me in this position or he would give me such conviction that I'd be convinced. And I suspect it would be the former. I can imagine God raising his eyebrows, shaking his head and saying, 'What am I going to do with you, you dippy girl?'
2. S was with us last night. A few months ago this young man left us to go and work in an area of the Middle East currently very much in the news. He had to return home because of visa problems. He very much wants to go back as it's been his dream for a long time. He earnestly wants to serve God. He is trying to decide what to do at the moment, whether to take another option or to hang on and try to get back there.
If I were his mother I'd be saying, 'You don't want to go there. Not right now. It's dangerous.' Does he listen to others or to God? Or is it God? How do you know? How does he know? He doesn't have what could be seen as the arrogance of Paul to assume he knows best. He wants to know clearly and definitely what God wants him to do.
P.S. Actually S may be safer going to that country rather than staying here as they're the ones sending the bombs out. Unless America decides to bomb them of course ...