Paul’s third missionary trip was his most significant. On this trip he spent three years in Ephesus (Acts 20:31) where he held discussions “daily” (Acts 19:9) “so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord” (Acts 19:10). It was also during this time that, “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul” (Acts 19:11) and a major demonic hold was broken resulting in the burning of a huge number of scrolls used in sorcery (Acts 19:18-19). But the first two trips were necessary preparation for the third. Paul had been through many difficult and dangerous situations on his first two trips. His faith had grown, he had built relationships with both Jews and Gentiles and God had prepared him for this lengthy and successful stay in Ephesus.

I find it an encouraging thought that whatever I am going through now is absolutely necessary preparation for what God will launch me into next. During some seasons of our lives we seem to go through one difficult situation after another but when this is seen from the bigger perspective it means that all these difficult situations are part of God’s learning curve. During tough times it helps to remember God is teaching us all we need to know for the next season of our life.