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Acts 16:6-10, Paul’s Vision of the Man of Macedonia

Friday, April 27

Clarity of Vision for a Road Block

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

road block

We like to think of Paul as a bulldozer, plowing a path of Christianity everywhere he went. But Paul ran into road blocks, too. Not just the road blocks of persecution and imprisonment placed in his path by people -- and Jesus still had his back. No, these were road blocks put up by the Holy Spirit and by Jesus. The Holy Spirit forbade them to speak the word in Asia. Jesus' spirit refused to let them to to Bithynia (in Asia Minor). Instead, the Holy Spirit sent them by vision to Macedonia in Greece.

One of the hardest things to do is accept when a path that we have been following becomes closed to us. It is tempting to try to climb over the rubble of the road blocks God has placed there to deter us. But if we can become self-aware, perspective, and intuitive, we can learn to trust when a road block is human-made and worthy of conquering, or God-made, and worth letting alone. When God puts up a road block, we are not often left stuck in the mud. God opens other paths for us. Sometimes it takes an openness to see the path and a willingness to turn away from what we thought we were doing to turn toward what God wants for us. But when we do, the path that is opened for us can take us to places we never could have imagined!

How do you discern between human-made and God-made road blocks? For me, clarity comes in many ways. Sometimes it's in giving myself time to be still and quiet, either through meditation, exercise, or listening to music. I need to give my head the space to be receptive to the clarity God desires to give. Other times clarity comes through the voices of others. I can bounce my thoughts and ideas off the few others I trust with my life. Their wisdom can often bring clarity I could not have attained on my own. Still other times, clarity comes when the road block I'm trying to conquer simply flattens me. In my exhaustion and despair I can sometimes see the futility of continuing down this blocked path, and when I pick myself back up, I can turn around and try another way. How does clarity come to you?

Narrative Lectionary Text: Acts 16:6-10

They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. When they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them; so, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.