Today’s selected reading is found in the second New Testament epistle which the apostle wrote to the saints which were in Thessalonica. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first chapter of the epistle. With today’s passage we find the apostle Paul beginning his second epistle to the saints which were present within the city of Thessalonica. What marks this epistle as truly unique is that just as the first epistle which was written unto this body of saints, this epistle was written from the city of Athens. If you turn and direct your attention to the New Testament book of Acts, and specifically the seventeenth chapter, you will find that immediately after Paul and Silas were released from the prison cell in Philippi—after the Lord caused a great earthquake to shake the foundation of the prison, and every man’s shackles to be loosed, and caused ever prison door to be opened—Paul and Silas immediately traveled through two specific towns and regions until they came to the city of Thessalonica. When Paul—together with Silas and Timothy—arrived at Thessalonica, they immediately weren’t into the synagogue of the Jews and both reasoned and alleged that Jesus must needs suffer, be buried in the grave, and raise from the grave on the third day. After three days, however, the Jews had had enough and burned with tremendous envy towards the apostle Paul and the gospel concerning Jesus who is both Christ and Lord. The Jews immediately gathered unto themselves men of a baser sort in order that they might turn the city on its head. Luke records how the Jews stirred up the city in order that they might cause it to rise up in an uproar against Paul and his companions. Whats more, is that these Jews didn’t merely gather together this group of men to cause the city to ride up in an uproar, but they also sought to persuade and convince the leaders within the city of the treachery of the apostle Paul and his companions. What’s more, is that they even rode up against the house of Jason to assault and attacking it since Jason had aligned himself with the apostle Paul and his companions.
We dare not miss or lose sight of the events which took place within the city of Thessalonica, for while it is true that those within the city heard and received the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ, they received it with much affliction, conflict and opposition. In fact, if you read the first epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto these saints you will find that he spoke of and referenced the fact that they had received the gospel concerning Christ with much affliction and with much conflict. One thing I can’t help but consider is what happened after Paul was removed from the city by the brethren and brought unto the place of the Bereans. If you continue reading the seventeenth chapter you will find that Paul was brought from the city of Thessalonica to the place or the bereans, and how he reasoned together with them concerning Jesus who is both Christ and Lord. When the Jews of Thessalonica, however, heard that the apostle Paul was preaching unto the Bereans, they immediately came to Berea to create opposition in that place as well. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if the opposition and conflict that ensued while Paul was still present within the city of Thessalonica continued—even after his sudden departure. I can’t help but wonder if the Jews continued to create a stir and conflict within the city of Thessalonica in order that they might undo that which the apostle Paul and his companions sought to accomplish when they were among them. Is it possible that not only did the people of Thessalonica receive the word concerning Christ in much affliction and conflict, but they also continued to experience that same conflict even after the apostle Paul was removed from the city? Is it possible that even after the apostle Paul, as well as Timothy and Silas left the city, the saints within that city continued to endure much affliction, much reproach and much conflict concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ? I have to say that I do not believe that the opposition which took place within that city ceased when Paul and his companions left the city. There is a part of me that believes that the saints in this place might have continued to experience tremendous affliction and opposition at the hands of Jews—and perhaps those within the city who were part of the original riot and stirring up of the city.
What is interesting about the first epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto these saints—as well as the second epistle which the apostle wrote unto them—is that both epistles were written from Athens. Athens you will recall is where the apostle Paul would travel too immediately after leaving the place of the Bereans, for the Jews had come to Berea to create opposition and affliction in that place as well. Once in the city of Athens, however, it was only a matter of time before the apostle Paul sent for Timothy and Silas to come unto him quickly and with all haste. This is quite unique when you consider that when each of these epistles were written, they were written from Athens together with Silas and Timothy. When you begin reading both epistles you will find that Paul sought to write them from Athens together with Silas and Timothy, and he did so for he felt that his time with these dear saints and people was cut too short. The apostle would have most likely preferred to spend a considerable amount of time within this particular city, however, due to the opposition and affliction which ensued within that city, he was forced to be removed from the city. Even his time within Berea was cut short, for the opposition and affliction of the Jews in Thessalonica made its way unto that place as well. There is actually something that is quite interesting when you read and consider the reality of that which the apostle endured in Berea, for there are times when we seek to remove ourselves from one situation and journey to a new place in order to somehow escape and even avoid the affliction and opposition we experienced in one place. This may in fact be true of leaving one job for another job, leaving one church for another church, leaving one marriage for another marriage, leaving one relationship for another relationship, and so much more. How many times have you thought that by removing yourself from a particular situation because of the affliction and opposition and conflict you endured, and you thought that it would be easier on the other side? How many times have you believed that the grass was somehow greener on the other side only to find out that affliction and opposition not only seems to be present in that place, but also seems to have followed you?
WHEN AFFLICTION FOLLOWS YOU! WHEN AFFLICTION DRIVES YOU FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER! WHWN OPPOSITION DRIVES YOU FROM ONE PLACE AND FOLLOWS YOU TO THE NEXT! WHWN CONFLICT DRIVES YOU FROM ONE PLACE AND FOLLOWS YOU TO ANOTHER! It is quite interesting and remarkable to read the account of Paul—not only within the city of Thessalonica, but also within Berea we well, for the brethren removed him from the city of Thessalonica in order to shield and protect him from the opposition and affliction that was taking place within that city. I can’t help but wonder if the apostle Paul knew that opposition and affliction would find him in Berea, or if he thought that he would be able to preach the gospel freely without any opposition or conflict. Consider if you will the language that is found—first within the opening part of the seventeenth chapter, and then in the second portion of the chapter. Beginning with the first verse of the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we find and read of the account of Paul and his companions within the city of Thessalonica: “Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apolonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: and Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things. And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go” (Acts 17:1-9).
Within these nine verses we find and read concerning the apostle Paul—together with Timothy and Silas—preaching the gospel concerning Jesus Christ, and that He must needs suffer, endure His passion, and rise from the dead. In these nine verses we not only read of the gospel concerning Jesus Christ being preached, but we also read of the tremendous opposition, conflict and affliction which rose up in the midst of the city against the apostle Paul and the gospel he preached. Even though the people of that city received the gospel concerning Jesus Christ, they did so with much affliction and opposition—a reality which was mentioned repeatedly in the first epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto these dear saints. Burning with envy and malice—not only toward the apostle Paul and his companions, but also toward the gospel concerning Jesus Christ—the Jews created such a great stir and uproar within the city, that it was no longer safe for the apostle Paul to remain within the city. In fact, if you begin reading with and from the tenth verse of this particular chapter you will find the account of the apostle Paul being sent away from the city of Thessalonica—together with Silas. Consider if you will the words and language that is found in this particular chapter beginning with the tenth verse: “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and TImotheus abode there still. And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and TImoethues for to come to him with all speed, they departed” (Acts 17:10-15). With these words we find the apostle Paul being sent away from Thessalonica unto Berea—together with Silas and Timothy—and there in Berea preaching the same gospel he preached in the city of Thessalonica unto the inhabitants of that city. It’s necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this particular reality, for although the apostle was sent away from Thessalonica, he didn’t let the opposition and conflict he experienced and endured within that city impact and affect his time in the various cities and regions he would travel to in the upcoming months and years.
Transitioning back to the reality of affliction driving us from one place and seemingly following to the next place, I feel it absolutely imperative to take a moment and speak to this particular reality. I am thoroughly convinced that there are, and there have been specific times within our lives when we have faced, experienced and encountered affliction, opposition and conflict in one place, and perhaps have grown tired and weary in the midst of that opposition and conflict. As a direct result of our tiredness and weariness we set out to transition from that place to the next in order that we might experience a reprieve and respite from that which we previously endured. I am utterly and completely convinced that there are and there have been times within our lives when opposition has driven us from one place to the next, and yet despite how much we tried to distance and separate ourselves from that opposition, it seemingly followed us to the next place. There are times within our lives when we have experienced conflict and struggle in one place, and as a direct result of that conflict and struggle, we sought to either deliver ourselves from it, or have by the conflict and struggle itself been driven from that place to the next. What’s more, is that I am convinced that there has been at least once within and throughout the course of our lives thus far a time when we have sought to remove ourselves from a particular source of conflict and struggle, and have journeyed to a completely different place thinking and believing that the conflict and struggle was left behind us. I am firmly convinced that this reality is most certainly true of jobs and places of employment, for how many times have you experienced conflict, opposition, struggle and affliction in one job, and as a direct result of that which you faced and experienced, you sought reprieve and respite in another job? At first your new job seemed to be exactly what you were looking for, and exactly what you thought you needed, until you found that the same opposition, the same conflict, the same struggle, the same affliction you experienced in your previous job not only seemed to rise up in that place, but almost seems to have followed you there? You left one company in order to escape from the opposition, conflict and struggle you experienced and to find rest and peace in a new role within a new company. I know that I myself have been guilty of this very thing, and that I have left one job thinking and believing that I would escape the conflict, the struggle, the opposition, and the affliction I endured in one place, only to find and discover that it seemed to have found and followed me in that new place I entered.
There is a particular example and account found within the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah which perfectly captures this sentiment, this reality and this way of thinking. If you turn and direct your attention to the remnant of the Jews which remained in the land after the successive waves of Babylonian invasion and captivity, you will find that they grew fearful and anxious concerning the king of Babylon, as well as the sword which he unleashed within and upon the earth. As you read the account of the Jews remaining in the land at this particular time, you will find that their hearts failed them for fear in that they believed they would immediately fall prey to the sword of the king of Babylon. Consider if you will the account of the remnant of the Jews which remained within the land, and their dialogue with the prophet Jeremiah: “Then all the captains of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareem, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least even unto the greatest, came near, and said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the Lord thy God, even for all this remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us) that the Lord thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do. Then Jeremiah the prophet said unto them, I have heard you; behold, I will pray unto the Lord your God according to your words; and it shall come to pass, that whatsoever thing the Lord shall answer you, I will declare it unto you; I will keep nothing back from you. Then they said to Jeremiah, The Lord be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the Lord thy God shall send thee to us. Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the Lord our God” (Jeremiah 42:1-6). Now in this particular passage of Scripture we don’t immediately understand the request the remnant of the Jews were making unto the prophet Jeremiah concerning their living and dwelling in the land of Judah, for this reality would be revealed and manifested in the prophetic word which Jeremiah would bring unto and delivered unto them after ten days. Imagine and consider that reality for a moment—the reality that the remnant of the Jews which remained and dwelt within the land had to wait ten days an answer and response from the Lord. Despite their fear, despite their anxiousness, despite their troubled hearts, they were made to wait ten days before and until the word of the Lord came unto the prophet Jeremiah.
If you begin reading with and from the seventh verse of the forty-second chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah you will find the word of the Lord coming unto Jeremiah after ten days. Consider if you will the words which the prophet Jeremiah spoke unto the remnant of the Jews which remained in the land and were looking—perhaps not so much direction and clarity, as much as they were looking for approval on what was already within their heart. As you continue reading this particular chapter, as well as the next chapter or two, you will quickly discover that what the remnant of the Jews were ultimately asking Jeremiah for was approval for what was already in their hearts. Beginning with the seventh verse of the forty-second chapter you will find the following words: “And it came to pass after ten days, that the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah. Then called He Johanan the son of Karen, and all the captains of the forces which were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest, and said unto them, Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, unto whom ye sent me to present your supplication before him; if ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you. Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom ye are afraid; be not afraid of him, saith the Lord: for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand. And I will shew mercies unto you, that He may have mercy upon you, and cause you to return to your own land. But if ye say, We will not dwell in this land, neither obey the voice of the Lord your God, saying, No; but we will go into the land of Egypt, where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor have hunger of bread; and there will we dwell: and now therefor hear the word of the Lord, ye remnant of Judah; Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; If ye wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and go to sojourn there; then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof ye were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there ye shall die. So shall it be with all the men that set their faces to go into Egypt to sojourn there; they shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: and none of them shall remain or escape from the evil that I will bring upon them. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; As mine anger and my fury hath been poured forth upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem; so shall my fury be poured forth upon you, when ye shall enter into Egypt: and ye shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach; and ye shall see this place no more. The Lord hath said concerning you, O ye remnant of Judah; Go ye not into Egypt: know certainly that I have admonished you this day. For ye dissembled in your hearts, when ye sent me unto the Lord your God, saying, Pray for us unto the Lord our God; and according unto all that the Lord dour God shall say, so declare unto us, and we will do it. And now I have this day declared it to you; but ye have not obeyed the voice of the Lord your God, nor any thing for the which he hath sent me unto you. Now therefore know certainly that the shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, in the place whither ye desire to go and to sojourn” (Jeremiah 42:7-22).
This particular passage is actually quite remarkable to read and consider, for while on the surface it might seem like the remnant of the Jews which remained in the land of Judah were seeking direction from the Lord, and were even seeking the will of the Lord, the word of the Lord which came to Jeremiah actually proves and reveals something completely and vastly different. If you continue reading this passage of Scripture you will find that the remnant of the Jews which remained in this place were not looking for the will of the Lord, nor for clarity and direction, for for the Lord to confirm that which was already within their hearts to do. The prophetic word of the Lord revealed and exposed that which they already purposed and determined within their hearts, which was to travel down into the land of Egypt. The word of the Lord which came to Jeremiah not only revealed their desire to go down into the land of Egypt to dwell and sojourn there, but it also revealed the consequences and result of their desire and action to go down into the land of Egypt. Much like the Lord appeared unto Isaac in the Old Testament book of Genesis instructing him to go not down into the land of Egypt [this despite the famine that had come upon the land where he and his family dwelt], the Lord instructed and commanded the remnant of the Jews which remained in the land to journey not down into the land of Egypt, but to remain where they were. If they chose to listen to and obey the voice of the Lord and remain in the land, the Lord would bless them there in that place, and would plant them and establish them. If, however, they set their heart and mind to go down into the land of Egypt in order to somehow escape the sword and the peril which they experienced and endured in the previous successive waves of the Babylonian captivity and invasion, the very thing they sought to flee and escape from would not only follow them into the land of Egypt, but would also find them and overtake them there in that place. The remnant of the Jews which remained within the land of Judah sought to escape the sword of the king of Babylon, and even escape the famine and the pestilence, for their hearts had failed them for fear, anxiety, terror and dread. The Lord, however, declared unto them that if they journeyed down into the land of Egypt to somehow escape that which they feared, and even to escape that which they had already faced and experienced, that which they feared would come upon them and would overtake them. Oh, we dare not, we cannot, we must not quickly glance over this reality, and even lose sight of it, for to do so would be to miss something truly prophetic and challenging within our hearts and lives.
I am convinced that right now there are certain men and women among us who have faced and experienced affliction, who have faced and endured much opposition, and who have experienced much conflict and struggle in the place where they were. This is not in any way to diminish that which you have experienced and endured, nor even to somehow deny that it even happened or took place. What you faced and what you experienced and endured did happen, and it was real. There is absolutely no escaping, nor denying the fact that what you faced and experienced, and perhaps even what you are going through has been incredibly difficult, challenging, and has perhaps even directly assaulted your trust and your confidence in the Lord. With that being said, however, it is necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand the fact that as a direct result of that which we face and experience in these moments within our lives, we seek to transition ourselves from that particular place where we faced, experienced and endured affliction, conflict, opposition and struggle. There are countless men and women who right now are contemplating leaving a job and place of employment because of the conflict, because of the struggle, because of the opposition they have faced, experienced and endured. There are men and women who right now are considering leaving a marriage in order to escape the conflict, in order to escape the affliction, in order to escape the stringless, in order to escape the opposition they experienced on a regular and routine basis. Moreover, there are men and women who are seeking to leave relationships, and even churches in order to somehow escape the conflict and the struggle they previously experienced, faced and endured. Such individuals believe within their hearts that their departure and exit from that place where they previously were will somehow deliver them from the conflict and struggle which they experienced and endured. Such men and women wholeheartedly believe that by leaving one marriage, or by leaving one job, or by leaving one relationship, or by leaving one church, they will somehow escape that which they faced, experienced and endured. What happens, however, when you seek to leave such a place—particularly and especially without and apart from the direct word and will of the Lord speaking to you within your life—and you find that the very thing(s) you sought to escape and run away from not only found you where you were, but also threatened to overtake you in that place? How many times have you believed the grass was greener on the other side, only to discover that what you feared and what you faced has found you in that new place. WHEN WHAT YOU FEAR AND FACED FINDS YOU IN THE NEW PLACE!
There is a particular passage found within the New Testament gospel of John which describes a certain Samaritan woman whom Jesus encountered at the well in Samaria. What is so interesting and unique about this encounter is what Jesus declares of this woman, which was something that only those who knew her would know. Consider if you will the account of Jesus and the woman at the well in Samaria: “Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For His disciples were gone away into the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly” (John 4:6-18). Pay attention to the reality that she woman had previously had five husbands, and the man she was presently with was not her husband, for it actually brings this point to a head, and provides further clarity in perhaps a context that is more suitable to us. There is not a doubt in my mind that this woman experienced something in the first marriage, and in an attempt to escape that which she experienced in that marriage, she walked away from that marriage in order that she might pursue and step into another marriage. This pattern and process would go on not once, not twice, not even three times, but times, for this woman had five husbands. Not only this, but the man this woman was presently was was not her husband, thus being “the sixth man.” There is not a doubt in my mind that not only was this woman looking for something she didn’t find beginning with her first husband, but perhaps she transitioned from one marriage to the next thinking and believing that what she had experienced, endured, and faced would not be present in the next marriage and in the next relationship.
What do you do when that which you have sought to escape not only finds you, but also threatens to overtake you in the place you sought to flee to? What do you do when that which you feared and that which you dreaded not only finds you in the new place you have journeyed, but also threatens to destroy you in that place? What happens when perhaps you didn’t seek to leave a place in order to escape affliction, conflict, struggle and opposition, and yet it not only seemed to follow you to the next place, but also seemed to threaten you in that place? The apostle Paul experienced the envy of the Jews, and as a direct result of their envy, the entire city was turned on its head and an uproar ensued. The brethren sent Paul and Silas away by night from that place, and yet Luke records that when the Jews heard that the gospel was being preached in that place, they came to Beara to stir up trouble, conflict and opposition in that place as well. I can’t escape the fact that perhaps not only did the same conflict and struggle which broke out in the city of Thessalonica seem to follow Paul to Berea, but there also seems to be an indication that the trouble, the conflict and the struggle which ensued in that place continued to threaten the inhabitants of that city. Consider if you will the words and language which is found in the first chapter of the second epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Thessalonica: “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which hue also suffer: seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us” (2 Thessalonians 1:3-6). Notice within this passage how the apostle Paul not only speaks of persecutions and tribulations, but also concerning those which troubled the saints which were present within this particular city. The words which the apostle Paul writes seems to suggest that what they experienced while he was still there continued even with his absence among them within the city. What I so love about the words which we find in this particular epistle, is that despite the persecutions and tribulations they experienced and endured, their faith continued to grow exceedingly, and their charity toward each other abounded more and more. What’s more, is that the apostle Paul continued to go on to write of their patience and faith in their persecutions and tribulations which they endured.
It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this reality, for despite and in the midst of the suffering and affliction they endured, their faith continued to grow, and their charity continued to endure and abound toward others. It is necessary that we pay close attention to this particular reality, for more often than not the very same affliction and conflict we seek to escape and run away from is the very same affliction and conflict which is being used to strengthen our faith, and to increase our love. More often than not we fail to recognize the purpose and the plan in the suffering and the affliction, and we fail to see the work which the Spirit of Almighty God is doing within our hearts and lives, and if we leave before the work has been completed, we not only thwart the work, but also threaten to abort the very work which began within our hearts and lives. I absolutely love what the apostle Paul writes unto these saints, for despite of, and in the midst of their persecution and tribulations their faith continued to grow exceedingly, and their charity toward one another abounded more and more. Not only this, but the apostle Paul also wrote of their patience and faith which they exercised in their persecutions and tribulations which they endured among them in their midst. Do we truly understand the value and importance of the trying of our faith? Do we truly value and appreciate the affliction and the conflict we are presently facing and experiencing right where we are? What’s more, is would we dare attempt to run from, hide from, and even flee that conflict and struggle somehow thinking and believing that it won’t find us in that new place we journey to? What’s more, is would we dare threaten to negate and abort the work of the Spirit within our lives because we seek to avoid and flee from the conflict and struggle we have faced in one place to travel and journey to another?