Vision of the Macedonian

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the regions of Phrygia and Galatia because the Holy Spirit kept them from speaking the word in the province of Asia. When they approached the province of Mysia, they tried to enter the province of Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t let them.Passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas instead. A vision of a man from Macedonia came to Paul during the night. He stood urging Paul, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 10 Immediately after he saw the vision, we prepared to leave for the province of Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.  – Acts 16:6-10 (CEB)

Waiting isn’t natural for me.  I’m fairly impatient.  And yet, faith experience tells me that waiting on direction from the Lord would have made life easier.  One of the ways I identify when I read about the apostle Paul however, is it seems he sought God’s direction and guidance, but only sat still to pray and sleep.  However, coming from the tradition of the Pharisees, he probably kept a strict sabbath rest as well.

When we read about Paul and his companions, unless they are in prison, they never seem to stop.  They are always traveling, always preaching, always serving, always mentoring new disciples.  What was in their coffee?

A love for jesus and desire to follow wherever God’s Spirit led them.  How did the Spirit of the Lord lead them?  In different ways.  The Spirit directed them through early leaders of the church in Jerusalem making decisions together.  The Spirit directed them through conviction of the heart, mind, and soul.  The Spirit spoke to them through new folks they met along the way.  And…the Spirit of the Lord spoke to them in dreams and visions.

God working through others whom we trust to guide us is easy enough for me to understand.  Trusting in dreams and visions always makes me nervous.   What if the person is just making it up?  And yet, many of us have had the dream, vision, conviction, and just knew that God was directing us.  People with dementia have visions too.  Then there’s the Adversary that also seems to bring conviction as well.  How do you discern if a vision or a dream, or even a word through a friend is of God?  Well, if your convinced it is from the Lord, try it out.  Go with it.  If not, continue to pray, because while I’m not very patient, God is.  If the Lord is directing you, the word will come again.  Ask friends to pray with you and for you, for God’s direction to become clear.

Also what strikes me about this passage,  Do you listen for God?  Even in your sleep?

Prayer:  Lord, speak to us, we need to hear from you.  We need your direction.  After all of your love for us, all of your grace for us, We want to serve you.  We want our lives to be fruitful and make a difference for you.  Speak to us through others, through dreams, visions, and conviction of heart, mind, and soul.  However you do it Lord, do it.  Help us to see it and hear it.  Amen.