Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Wondering Place



In the days following the disciple Stephen's death, the Lord's people scattered to various parts of the country to avoid persecution & a similar fate.  They certainly didn't disperse & cower in fear, but redeemed the entirety of their experience to further the Gospel. 

So it was in those days that we hear a good deal about Philip.  Following the aforementioned (I love it when I get to use that word) scattering, he settled (sort of) in Samaria, where he flourished in a ministry that was, to say the least, powerful, prolific and productive. 

Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed
the Messiah there.  When the crowds heard Philip
and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close
attention to what he said.  For with shrieks,
impure spirits came out of many, and many who
were paralyzed or lame were healed. 
So there was great joy in that city. 
Acts 8:5-8

Even so, God saw fit to pluck Philip from that joyful, fertile place (rather abruptly, I might add) for yet another, as yet undisclosed purpose.  I can but wonder what he was thinking as he steadied his obedient heart, making his way through a forest of cactus & Joshua trees, accompanied by snakes, lizards & scorpions. 

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip,
"Go south to the road—the desert road
that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 
So he started out, and on his way he met
an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official
in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake
(which means “queen of the Ethiopians”).
This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 
and on his way home was sitting in his chariot
reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet.
The Spirit told Philip,
“Go to that chariot and stay near it.” 
Acts 8:26-29
 
Philip seems to have embraced & benefited from such immediate trust & obedience.  No quibbling about Marching Orders (" ... But Lord, I've worked so hard here; and surely You can see how much these people need me.  But surely ...").  

I believe it's safe to say that Philip was ever ready & packed to march. 
 
The rest, as they say, is history.  But as I consider that story & the history that accompanies it, I wonder how many times I've balked at being transplanted from one place to another ~ literally and/or spiritually?  I wonder if I've esteemed the multitudes & the miracles at the expense of the equally glorious mundane or minuscule?     
 
Sometimes the greatest ministries are situated squarely in the midst of the ignoble, accompanied by conditions & companions we might never have sought, left to our own devices.   It is often then & there that along comes a opportunity ~ an appointment with destiny ~ which could come by no other means. 
 
I love the Wondering Place.




12 comments:

Denise said...

Amen, me too my friend.

Nel said...

Good words! Thank you my friend!
until next time...nel

Sharon said...

Oh, how this post reached my heart! I am still trying to get used to my new home in the mountains, after living for almost 29 years in the same place "down the hill." I got so used to the crowds and the conveniences...and the comfort.

But, I feel that God strongly called my husband and I to move here. Still in a *wondering place* - but knowing that God is with me, and feeling His Presence perhaps stronger than ever before.

GOD BLESS!

Maryann said...

Something I need to embace....I don't...familiarity and comfort can be something of an idol to me. Willingness to change or move is something that the Lord is definately working on in my heart

Rebecca said...

So much to chew on here, Kathleen....
Currently, I definitely find myself smack dab in the "glorious mundane and minuscule". I don't want to miss or misuse one moment of it. I needed this reminder.

Nancy said...

Words of wisdom my friend...thank you.

Renee Regnier said...

Kathleen,

This touched my heart today, not because of something I'm going through, but something my daughter is going through. She was married in 2011. They immediately left the state to live where he had been living. Within six months they moved to Florida. Within a year they had moved to a second home in Florida and then to Wisconsin. After another year, plus one baby and another on the way, they are moving to their original location.

They are not close to us and it's easy for my heart to break considering it all. Your post has helped much!

Blessings,
Renee

Sonja said...

Ouch!

How many times have I been given marching instructions and NOT balked??!! What a great example with Philip. He did what I often don't!

and...

" I wonder if I've esteemed the multitudes & the miracles at the expense of the equally glorious mundane or minuscule?"

This was a zinger Kathleen, and it zinged right in my direction! :)

elaine@ peace for the journey said...

My mind/heart are full of wonder as I consider God's "next" for my family and me. So ready to take that desert road . . .

peace~elaine

Just a little something from Judy said...

Oh my, this is a bit troubling to me. Me, who is not easily moved, and not even looking for the words that might be indicating that move. I so needed to read this. I find great comfort in the secure, the known, and the routine. Several times in my life, God did uproot, but not without me quietly kicking and screaming in the process. But, I have found it has always been for my good. Love that you shared this.

Cheryl Barker said...

Ever ready and packed to march -- a noble goal for us all!

Patrinas Pencil said...

"Sometimes the greatest ministries are situated squarely in the midst of the ignoble, accompanied by conditions & companions we might never have sought, left to our own devices. It is often then & there that along comes a opportunity ~ an appointment with destiny ~ which could come by no other means. "

Kathleen,
I don't really know how to respond to this statement. Knowing the history of Philip and the Eunuch... (how Philip led him to Christ...baptized him and then Philip was taken away by the spirit to another place.)..speaks of a very definite appointed time in Philips ministry. If Philip wasn't accustomed to hearing and responding to the voice of the Lord...he could have missed this moment.

I can't help wondering too ...as I contemplate whether to stay or to go..in my current position...if there is a destiny yet in the making...that I'm called to participate in.

If the Lord really has placed me there for His purposes and not mine...then I'm trusting that He will make that purpose CLEAR.

I want to be ready for where ever He sends me...and I need to be fortified by His strength and grace to continue in a place as long as it takes to accomplish His will.

But I have a tendency to go the extra mile...not understanding whether or not the Lord has lifted the mandate to stay. It is such a hard road for me to walk sometimes...not knowing... whether to go or to stay. This is a very applicable post for me. Very timely. Therefore, I ask that you pray for me at this time...to discern God's will in staying or going.

It would be soooo much easier if ...like Philip...we could just be transported in the spirit when it is time to move on.

Thanks for sharing this, Kathleen. I will be pondering its truths. The one thing I saw that I hadn't contemplated before...was the openness...the readiness of the Eunuch...to the gospel message. The Spirit had prepared him. He was reading in faith ...for understanding to come. He was seeking truth...when the Spirit sent Philip to open his eyes to understanding.

He was seeking...

Blessings, friend
patrina <")>><