“Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 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 16:6-10 (NIV84)
I’m no sheep herder, but the picture I get from these verses, is that our Chief Shepherd in heaven, was corralling Paul and his companions to get them to go to Macedonia.
You see, Paul had concocted a plan — a good, godly plan. They were to travel back through Asia Minor to encourage all of the churches he had planted. He and Silas headed west. When they tried to then go north, God stopped them. They tried to go south. But, their plans were again thwarted by the Shepherd’s staff. Hmmm — what to do?
After getting a vision in his sleep, Paul woke up with a brand new plan. A plan he did not even have the day before! He would head west into Macedonia and see what God was up to. It was in this way God used him to change the world!
The simple lesson for me is that God knows how to get me where He wants me to go. No matter what my grand and godly strategy may have been, God’s way prevails. As a planner, I like to know what’s going to happen next. I have my vision and mission statement memorized. I know how to “work the plan.” Recently, however, God has changed some of my big picture dreams. He has set me (and our churches) on a different path than what I had been planning.
So, what am I to do when God changes “my” plans? Like Paul, I need to get up and move forward into what HE has planned. Only then will I truly be a part of changing the world.
Posted in A Word from the Pastor