The Still Small Voice

The Art of Reflection - Changing course when course changes are called for

 Chapter Five, Part Seven

 

 

 

Changing course
when course changes are called for

Paul and his companions travelled 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. (Acts 16:6)

When the captain of a ship contacts the engine room for a change of course, he expects his orders to be obeyed immediately. We must be equally as alert to heed our Captain’s orders – especially if He indicates that a change of course is called for.

Never one to make his plans lightly, Paul must have had excellent reasons for wanting to go to Bithynia – but it was not to be. By ways we are not informed about, the Spirit of the Lord intervened to prevent him from doing so. All that matters is that the apostles obeyed the warning, and headed right away from the region they had been hoping to evangelize.

On another occasion Paul announced that he intended to go on a mission to Spain.[11] As it turned out, he ended his days in captivity, a long way from either Spain or Jerusalem. Did Paul rattle his chains and bemoan how unfair it was that the Lord had set Peter free from prison?

Not a bit of it. Refusing all trace of self-pity, Paul turned his prison experience to his advantage by penning the Epistles that today, along with the Gospels, form the backbone of the New Testament. How many millions have his letters reached? Countless more than would have been the case had he achieved his original goal and preached the gospel in the Iberian Peninsula.

When the unexpected happens, and our plans are overturned, may we be flexible enough to hear the Still Small Voice telling us to try something different.

For Reflection and Prayer

Let’s face the fact, folks. Not all our hopes and dreams will be fulfilled. Reflect on some of the opportunities the Lord has not allowed to come your way. Eight times out of ten, you can probably look back and realize what a good thing it was that those particular doors did not open up. If God had granted you what you thought you wanted so badly at the time, it might have prevented you from getting to the ‘somewhere else’ He had in mind for you. Or it might have been too much for you to bear. And the other times? That is where we have to leave it all with the Lord. He is so much wiser than we are!

Father, in every time of change,
keep us alert and ready.

At every cross roads on the way,
be our sign-post, guide and Comforter
When doors slam shut in our faces,
grant us not just a passive resignation
but an active expectation that You can bring about
something still richer by opening other doors instead.

Enlarge the scope of our listening, Father.
May the Holy Spirit direct our thinking,
rather than our minds quenching Your Spirit.

May neither fear nor prejudice hold us back
from hearing Your Voice and following Your leading.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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