The story of the Macedonian man is a tale of when our plans don’t match God’s. The Apostle Paul was undertaking one of the world’s first mission trips to Asia. His plans made perfect sense — Bithynia had a large Jewish population. But as Acts tells us, “the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to” enter Bithynia.
Hmm. Detour ahead! Time for a change of course.
I don’t know about you, but this is where I might have abandoned the whole thing. I am a planner to a fault. My calendar is color-coded, I don’t leave home without my daily planner, and my family jokes that if you ask what we’re eating for dinner next Thursday, I can tell you before the question is out of your mouth. Perhaps you recognize yourself in some of my tendencies.
But what happens when God changes our plans? Here’s what Paul did. When a man asked for help from Macedonia (which is northwest of present day Turkey), Paul responded. God used his obedience to change history. That detour proved to be key to spreading the gospel to the entire Western world.
So, what happens when our sensible, carefully-laid plans are completely wrecked? Sometimes the Holy Spirit sticks a Macedonian in our way and shows us that our plans weren’t His plans, so they weren’t worth following after all. Our plans might appear to be good, but God’s plans are always better.
Lord, thank you that you can see the bigger picture and that your plans are always best. Help me to be willing to surrender my agenda and to be obedient when you show me something I wasn’t expecting. Amen.
Go deeper — Be flexible. The next time your plans change, instead of immediately scrambling for your planner so that you can rectify things, just sit back and see what else God might be bringing your way.
Photo Credit: Nick Tony