In Roman culture, if a commander won a battle on foreign soil, or if he killed more than 5,000 men or if he conquered new territory for the Emperor, he was awarded a parade. The commander would ride in on a golden chariot, and everyone would clap and cheer for the great victory he had accomplished. Along the ride of the procession, there would be sweet smelling aromas of incense burning, in celebration of the great victory.
In 2 Corinthians chapters 2, we find the Apostle Paul writing to the church at Corinth about his unsettled spirit. Paul arrived in Troas to find the door left wide open for him to walk through and share the good news of Jesus with the people there. The only problem was, he could not find the peace to do so.
He could not find Titus there and when he when realized Titus was no where to be found in Troas, he could not find the peace in his heart to move forward with sharing the gospel of Christ in that space.
I don’t know why Paul couldn’t find the peace to preach Jesus there. Maybe he knew they would listen better through the mouth of Titus, and he wanted only to be there to encourage and support Titus in his work. Maybe there was some other variable to the narrative that Paul doesn’t include in his letter, but one thing is for certain: Paul could not find the peace to share Jesus in that place. So, he left and went back to Macedonia.
There will be times in our lives that we see the door left wide open for us to do a ministry in someone’s life, or in a space that we really want to serve in—but, for some reason, God will just not give us the peace to move forward in serving in that capacity.
You and I might feel really discouraged at this because we want to serve him there. We want to shout the name of Jesus there, but, for whatever reason, God whispers to our hearts “no, not right now, or wait.”
Instead of becoming discouraged; instead of becoming moapy or sad, Paul reminds his reader in 2 Corinthians that Christ is the Victor, and that is enough, no matter the place God has us in right now. Just like the military commander’s parade that was prominent in Roman culture, you and I have a victor who has come riding in on a parade, no matter our situation.
It doesn’t matter if the door is open and God says walk through it, or if a door closes unexpectedly and it grieves our hearts, or even if the door to and opportunity is left wide open but God just says to your heart, “ no sir, not right now,” no matter our situation in that, Jesus is the Victor and he has marvelous parade throughout eternity, and no matter the high or the low or the mountain or valley, we can always stop and just bask in his glory!
And in that, we as his children, are like a sweet smelling aroma to the world around us, no matter the situation, if we stay focused on being his witnesses in every situation.
God is using you, and he will continue to use you in a mighty way, for His glory! Just stay focused on him, and his glory and his leading, in every situation God is calling you.