Sometimes a brisk walk clears the mind and helps us focus on the task at hand. While his travel companions sailed by ship, the apostle Paul chose to walk from Troas to Assos. This would have involved more than a brisk walk. The distance, approximately 20 miles, would have taken the better part of a day. But that is exactly what Acts 20 tells us that the apostle Paul did.
We do not know why Paul chose to walk rather than sail with his friends. Sometimes people walk for their health. If that road paralleled the ocean, it may have provided beautiful vistas. A landmark along the way may have been an intriguing sight. Any of these offer a plausible reason, but let me suggest this idea – perhaps Paul needed time alone with God.
The book of Acts makes it clear that Paul faced serious opposition – first from idolatrous Gentiles, such as had taken place in Ephesus; and, on the horizon lay the threatening storms of “bonds and afflictions” awaiting him in Jerusalem. That solitary walk would allow the apostle time alone for prayer, for meditation on God’s word, and for contemplation of what lay ahead.
Just as his Lord withdrew into a mountain or the desert to pray, perhaps Paul walked this lonely road for a similar purpose. As the Lord spend all night in prayer, perhaps Paul spent the day in a similar pursuit. We all need time alone with Jesus. We too can do what Paul accomplished as he walked from Troas to Assos. It may be while we are driving. It may be while we wait for an appointment. Often, we find ourselves in solitude. Instead of filling that time with mindless music or radio conversation about the latest political scandal or an upcoming sporting event, how much better would it be to spend our time with God.
Perhaps his time on the road between Troas and Assos steeled Paul for what lay ahead. After all, it is prayer, not politics, that brings peace and comfort to the mind. It is scripture, not sports, that prepares us to live our lives for God. If we determine to focus on God rather than flittering away our time, we might find ourselves better equipped for his service. Sometimes we need to close out the noise and clamor of the world, and, in the ensuing silence, focus on what really matters. Why not look for opportunities to join Paul on that road between Troas and Assos?