Often the things that appear to be random and inconvenient interruptions are actually sovereign strategic interventions to bring about God’s ultimate and loving plan in our lives.
When persecution hit Jerusalem, the believers had no choice but to scatter:
‘There arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria’ – Acts 8:1 (ESV)
It was the worst possible time for this to happen. The church was growing, thousands of people were being healed and encountering the love of God, and this unwelcome persecution ruined everything.
But in the mystery of His sovereignty, God used this ‘random’ situation to outwork his plan to send the gospel beyond the borders of the city:
‘Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word’ (8:4)
Instead of being discouraged by this sudden and painful change of circumstance, Philip embraced the opportunity and stepped out of what he had always known into the greatest adventure of his life:
‘Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip… there was much joy in that city’ (8:5-8)
Philip experienced something he may have never had the chance to if it wasn’t for this persecution. One moment he was baptising an Ethiopian Eunuch and the next he was teleported to Azotus!
‘The Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away… [and] Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea’ (8:39-40)
Philip saw and experienced God doing more than he could have ever imagined. But the secret to Philip’s fruitfulness was the recognition that what happened to Him was not random, but a part of God’s overall strategy, and he therefore made the most of every opportunity that presented itself.
Never neglect the possibility that the painful or inconvenient situations you face could well be your opportunity to go beyond the borders to see and experience God do more than you could have ever imagined!