Elder, David “Doc” Kenser gives us a daily reflection and devotion.
The apostle Paul and company had been traveling through Asia Minor, preaching as they went. They came to the border of Mysia and intended to stop in the city of Bithnyia to share the Gospel but were prevented from entering by the Spirit of Jesus (cf. Acts 16:7).
On the surface, it seems odd that Jesus, who commissioned his disciples to “go and make disciple of all nations” (Matt 28:19) would stand in the way of evangelism to any particular city or region, but there he was, drawing a line. Why would he do that? Why wouldn’t he want the citizens of Bithnyia to hear the Gospel?
Becasuse there was somewhere else Paul needed to be, someone else who was ready right then to receive the Truth – a divine appointment had been made that must be kept. While Paul didn’t know it standing at the border of Mysia, later it was revealed to him in a vision of a man in Macedonia begging them to come: “After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” (Acts 16:10).
Early on in my preaching ministry, I came to know a young couple and was told that the wife would be interested in studying the Bible but her husband would be a hard nut to crack. Concluding that the church members who had lived in that town knew what they were talking about, I set up a Bible study with her. We studied to for weeks but she wasn’t budging.
One day, I heard that her husband was visiting his sickly father in a hospital 35 miles away. I felt compelled to join him there and did. After visiting with his dad, the young man asked if we could talk and a couple of hours latter, he was asking to be baptized. Later, following the lead of her husband, Mary was baptized as well.
Despite how certain I was of whom I should be reaching, God knew better. He knew the condition of their hearts and when the time was right. God set up a divine appointment 35 miles away in a hospital I had never set foot in heretofore. Bu, accepting the leaning upon my heart instead of the deduction of my brain, I kept that appointment, God was faithful and a family was brought to the Lord. By the way, later he became a deacon in the church.
You may feel frustrated in trying to reach out to someone or attempting to accomplish some good thing, wondering why God isn’t blessing your efforts, why he isn’t listening to your prayers. I would suggest that it is not God who needs to pay closer attention but it’s is you that needs to be prayerfully listening for the Spirit’s assignment of a divine appointment.
Your efforts to do good may often be frustrated because the timing is not right. But God is faithful and if you continue to seek after Him, you will have success: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal 6:9). Jus’ Say’n.