“And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (Acts 16:9-10)
These days of pandemic chaos, cultural change, and political unrest many people are facing tough choices. To whom do they look for answers or wisdom? How do they determine what is right and wrong? When faced with major life decisions, who do people turn to? Do people make choices based on what everyone else is doing, what is popular or trendy. Or do they choose what will benefit them the most regardless of how their choices will affect others?
We members of the Kingdom of God, when faced with choices and decisions, must consider what the Lord would have us do. We can learn how God’s will and how we should respond by considering what happened to Paul and his companions on his 2nd missionary journey. He led them by a combination of factors that prevented the missionaries from going the way they originally planned. This disruption was accompanied by Paul’s vision of the Macedonian man. The group discussed the vision in the light of these events and concluded that God was calling them to go over to Macedonia to preach the gospel there.
As a result, the gospel was preached for the first time in Europe. Paul and his companions were conscious only of establishing new churches in three Roman provinces which they had not reached previously. Yet it was obvious to Luke, who joined the group at Troas, that the Holy Spirit deliberately guided them to take what proved to be a major step forward for the Church.
Often we Christians struggle to discern and follow God’s will. God guides His people primarily through His Word and His Spirit. Yet, as Paul’s experience shows us, God’s guidance sometimes involves negative and positive opportunities and circumstances, open or closed doors, events that disrupt our own plans and intentions, whether they are good, bad or neutral, things such as the pandemic. But no major decision ought to be made based on feelings, impulse or what everyone else is doing. Decisions should be made using the scriptures as well as rational thought about such matters as we seek the Lord’s will in prayer. We should seek counsel from the church, its pastors, teachers, elders and deacons. Never will the Lord guide His children to do anything that stands opposed to His will or His Word. God will always guide us in the way that gives Him glory.