Because its time, is probably the best answer.
Church history tells us that the apostle Paul spent 14 years in a cave outside his home town of Tarsus. I have always wondered why, and “why?” is probably the question I ask the most. As it so happens I suspect that coming to grips with the question “why?” is why he had to spend that time being seemingly unproductive. (See, a whole lot of why’s in one sentence.)
After Paul’s dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus he spent 3 days in blind isolation. I believe that Paul, during this precursor to his 14 year isolation, spent his time re-interpreting his vast knowledge of scripture, most of it memorized. The result was that shortly thereafter he met with the Jewish leaders in Damascus and “convinced” them that Jesus was the messiah using only old testament references. A remarkable feet, as any orthodox Jew will tell you.
Did everyone embrace him and beg for some more of the good news over tea and cake? No, scripture tells us that Paul had to be smuggled over the wall of Damascus like a criminal. They, these men he “convinced”, hated him for it and wanted to kill him. So Paul traveled to Jerusalem and started preaching the good news there and, again, Paul had to flee for his life. He returned to his hometown of Tarsus where his father was one of the lead elders in the local synagogue.
History tells us that Paul continued preaching about Jesus. Three times he received 40 less one lashings for his trouble until his father banished him from the synagogue and disowned him in an apparent attempt to bring him to his senses before he was, literally, beaten to death.
Can you imagine the despair? This passionate man who followed God with everything he had, even to the point of killing the “enemies” of his God. The son of one of the richest merchants in the entire Roman empire, the student of one of the most brilliant minds of his time. Utterly convinced of the fact that he was right, on God’s side and “they” not. Rejected, hunted, beaten he had lost everything he valued. His familial wealth and comfort, the respect of his friends and peers, all gone because he did what he believed was right and good. Why?
“For it is God working in us to will and to want according to His purposes.” I have learned that this, learning obedience through suffering, does not happen without, well, “suffering!” I have spent a lifetime avoiding it, no more.