After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” Acts 16:10
Read: Acts 16:8-40
Listen: Acts 16
They finally had a destination. Paul and his team headed to Macedonia. After being denied by the Holy Spirit to minister in the province of Asia, God leads them to Macedonia. With a mix of excitement and uncertainty, they pack their bags and get ready to sail across the Aegean Sea. We can imagine their conversations on board as they look forward to taking the Jesus-message to a new area. After all, they were clearly being obedient to God. They have the privilege of taking the life-changing news of Jesus to people who’ve never heard. What could go wrong?
Almost everything. They were continually harassed by a slave girl, dragged in front of the authorities after casting out a demon, beaten with rods, imprisoned and in stocks. Of all of the possibilities they considered on the boat, probably none of these were on the list. How could this be what obedience to God looks like? The Israelites followed God’s leading through the Red Sea, only to have no water (Exodus 15:22-24). Jesus directs his disciples to get into a boat that sails into a storm (Luke 8:22-25). Their adventure had become nasty, disturbing and uncomfortable.
There is the idea in our minds that things will go well if we’re doing what God calls us to do. We pray about it. We seek godly counsel. We search the Bible. Then step out in obedience. Sometimes it becomes nasty, disturbing and uncomfortable. However, incredible spiritual movement in our lives frequently accompanies times like this. Movement and pain often run on parallel tracks. Paul and his team experienced it. So will we.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Open your journal and write a prayer of openness to God’s leading. Say something like this, “Father, help me to trust you as I follow your leading. Even in the pain, remind me that you are always with me.” One way Jesus is with us is through his people, the church. We need each other. There is still time to sign-up for a small group this fall. Go here to get connected.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.