On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.
Thoughts for Today:Paul and his companions had arrived in the city of Philippi, and following their custom must have looked for a synagogue. Not finding one and since it was the Sabbath day, they went outside the city gate where they "expected to find a place of prayer." If you remember from verse 9, Paul had seen a vision of a man of Macedonia who begged him "Come over to Macedonia and help us." Yet here they were in Macedonia and what did they find? Women!
I cannot count the number of times that has happened to me, I begin something with a clear vision of what is to happen, only to get there and find out a piece of the vision is completely different. What would you have done? Many of us would have stopped and walked away confused, perhaps thinking "I must have got the vision wrong." I might even wonder that if I got the men versus the women wrong, then maybe I got the whole Macedonia mission thing wrong as well.
Not so Paul. Instead he and his whole team "sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there." Now that is true faithfulness: Adapting to the Unexpected.
Questions to Ponder:Too often we get in our heads how something is supposed to be, then if it doesn't turn out just as we expected we quit or question God's direction. Have you ever considered that maybe the precise details of a vision are less important than the general purpose of the mission? In Paul's case, preaching the Word in Macedonia and not worrying about whether at this moment it is to be towards men or women.
Do you see yourself in this illustration? Have you stopped serving because it didn't meet with your expectations? Maybe you're not in the capacity you think you should be or some other aspect of ministry, but does that mean you should stop serving? Or rather should you allow God to use you for His divine purpose? Are you willing to be patient and let the story of your life be written by the Master?