25:1Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2 where the chief priests and the Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul. 3 They requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way. 4 Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. 5 Let some of your leaders come with me, and if the man has done anything wrong, they can press charges against him there.”
6 After spending eight or ten days with them, Festus went down to Caesarea. The next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. 7 When Paul came in, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him. They brought many serious charges against him, but they could not prove them.
8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.”
9 Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?”
10 Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. 11 If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”
12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”
13 A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. 14 Since they were spending many days there, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. He said: “There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner. 15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned. 
What is striking in today’s passage is the unusual way in which God fulfills his promises. In Acts 23:11, God had promised Paul that he would testify about Him in Rome. Paul had made no secret that he wanted to go to Rome, mentioning it in his letter to the Romans (15:22-29). But I doubt that Paul anticipated the manner in which he would finally arrive there.
Paul obviously felt he had no choice but to appeal to Caesar. He knew that he would not get justice before the Sanhedrin. He probably expected another assassination attempt as well. No doubt he was growing impatient with the speed of Roman justice, having been waiting for two years for the resumption of his trial by Felix. But by appealing to Rome, as was his right as a Roman citizen, he could not only avoid the Sanhedrin, he could also fulfill his desire to go to Rome. And God’s promise would be fulfilled. Paul would testify in Rome . . . as a prisoner.
I image that in Paul’s prayers that someday he would be able to go to Rome, that he wasn’t envisioning going there as a prisoner. God answers our prayers, and fulfills His promise, but not always, or even frequently, in the way that we imagine or expect.
And that’s the point of this passage for me today. To trust in God to answer prayer, but not to expect God’s answers to come according to my timetable or in the manner that I think would be best. After all, if I truly believe that God is God, then I should trust that He can come up with millions of ways of answering the needs I bring before Him, and each one would be better than what I would devise. After all, God can see the infinite and intricate webs of interactions and consequences and ripples of our choices and actions, and how an answered prayer today could have an impact that affects numerous lives.
So my prayer today is for faith to trust God’s promises, and so to pray with boldness. I also pray that I might be given eyes to see His answers when they come, but still to trust when I don’t see them.
What is the Word leading you to pray about today?
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 The New International Version. (2011). (Ac 25:1–15). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.