“To choose surrender is to choose something better than control, better than the perfectly manicured life. To choose surrender and all the messiness that goes with it is to choose to sit at Jesus’ feet in unfettered abandon.”
Diane Comer from He Speaks In The Silence
Paul and Barnabas part ways, not one, but two missionary teams have taken to the road preaching and teaching The Gospel.
After visiting the churches he had founded, Paul tries to enter a new territory, going east into Asia Minor and Bythinia, but the Lord closed the door.
They went to Phyrgia, and then on through the region of Galatia. Their plan was to turn west into Asia province, but the Holy Spirit blocked that route. ~Acts 16:6 The Message
Their plan was blocked.
I am a planner (loosely reformed~smile). I had a plan, a bucket list of things I wanted to do. My plan, was derailed. Blocked.
We don’t know how God revealed His will in this matter, but I imagine Paul was disappointed. Maybe even discouraged.
As I was studying through this particular Scripture, I was surprised. Paul, the greatest evangelist in the history of the church had his plans thwarted.
I know how I felt, how I feel, when I have experienced such times. It is disappointing, discouraging, and frightening, all at the same time.
How do I react when doors are closed? Plans are shut down? When the unexpected happens? How do you? As you ponder that thought, let’s take a look at Paul.
Paul, changes direction, goes to Troas, where he and his friends stopped and regrouped.
That night Paul had a dream: A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” The dream gave Paul his map. We went to work at once getting things ready to cross over to Macedonia. All the pieces had come together. We knew now for sure that God had called us to preach the good news to the Europeans. ~Acts 16:9-10 The Message
In the waiting, God revealed his plan to Paul. Paul hears clear direction. Not only clear direction, but, a call for help as well. He sees the next step and begins to make preparations.
He doesn’t whine, stomp his feet, or negotiate.
Paul was quick to respond.
Rather than pushing through the no, as I often do, Paul stops. Rather than stepping outside of God’s will, Paul waits. Waits and listens for the next step.
In his sovereignty, God led Paul west into Europe, not east into Asia, thus, spreading The Gospel greater than Paul, or you, or I could imagine.
There have been times in my life when I have gone anyway, or not gone. Times, when I clearly stepped outside the will of God. Those times cost me dearly. They were painful.
Though they have been redeemed, consequences linger on.
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Gifts of Grace