I had a doctor’s appointment this morning. Not too long ago, my physician changed the location of his office and I’m still not able to remember how to get there by memory. So I use my navigation to get to the office. That way, I won’t get lost on my way to my check-ups.
Well, my navigation got me there without any issues. And then, when I left the office, I also used the navigation to get me on the fastest route back home. I simply needed directions for part of the way home until I got back into a familiar setting where I could make the journey from memory.
You know how that is, I’m sure. You need a bit of guidance when you travel beyond the areas within your local community that you go to frequently. You need help to get to your destination, right?
So that’s exactly what I did. I used my navigation to get me back to the place that was familiar to me.
But this morning, I did something unusual. Instead of turning off my navigation after I was in common territory, I just kept it going.
After I was about five minutes away from home, I noticed a strange directive. The navigational system told me to use an exit and a road I had never used to get home.
Instead of following my initial instinct, which was to turn the navigation off and go my own way, I decided to follow what it said. I was a little intrigued. My interested was piqued.
I was a bit confused by the route, however, because I felt like my tried and true way was quick, easy and straightforward. There couldn’t be any other better way, I assumed.
Despite my misgivings and skepticism, I followed the directions. To my shock and surprise, the route suggested by the navigation, though it was totally different from my own, was way quicker and even more direct.
The navigational route got me to my destination in less time, with less turns than I’m used to.
I realized I had been going the long way for years without knowing it! From today forward, I’ll be taking that exit and that very route I learned today.
It’s funny how, in life, we get into routines and patterns, and feel like we know the best way. There are some things we have been doing for years and they seem to work well enough. But our way, just because it’s familiar, comfortable and good enough in our estimation, isn’t always the right way.
Sometimes, particularly in our spiritual walk with the Lord, God disrupts our pattern because He has a much better way.
But it’s so easy to get stuck doing what we’ve always done, going the way we view as the best way, not realizing that God has something different and even better in mind.
In order for us to experience His best for us, we’ve got to be willing to trust His guidance and direction. We have to release our own ideas about what is right, good and best and say, “Lord, I’m open to you changing my course.”
What you're perceiving as a disruptive setback is a divine setup for something greater! It's a blessing in disguise.
In Acts 8:26-40, we see God changing a man’s course with amazing results.
In this chapter, an angel of the Lord spoke to a man named Phillip. He was one of seven faithful men of God, who were commissioned by the early church to minister to the needs of the widows and the impoverished. Well, the angel of God told Phillip to go southward down a road running from Jerusalem all the way to Gaza.
This meant Phillip had to deviate from whatever path he was on. But he didn’t ask any questions. He didn’t try to figure out why God was using this angel to ask him to do this. He just went ahead and followed directions.
When he did, Phillip came upon a great man of power. He was the treasurer of the Ethiopian Queen. And this influential man was returning from worshiping in Jerusalem.
Then the Holy Spirit told Philip to go over and walk beside the carriage this member of the royal court was riding in.
Phillip obeyed and right at that moment, he heard this powerful man reading what we know in our Bibles as Isaiah 53:7-8.
Those verses say this:
He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
Phillip, who was being led by God, asked this influential royal stranger, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
This man answered, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?”
With that, the Bible says, this official urged Philip to come inside the chariot and actually sit with him. This was clearly a divine setup.
You see, the Ethiopian man didn’t know who Isaiah was talking about in this biblical passage he was reading.
This royal official, even though he was reading God’s word, had no understanding. He asked Phillip, “Was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?”
Right there was the opportunity for Phillip, this faithful servant of God, to share the message of Jesus Christ, because Jesus was the subject of that scripture in Isaiah.
Jesus was the one who was afflicted. Jesus was the Holy Lamb of God who took upon Himself the judgment and punishment of a sinful and wicked people. Jesus was judged for our transgressions.
Phillip, who had already been preaching in various regions, was the perfect candidate for this assignment. He shared Jesus Christ.
And you know what happened?
According to Acts 8: 36-38, after Phillip shared the good news, this royal official was so excited, he saw some water along the road and asked to be baptized by Phillip.
How powerful is that?
Verse 39 says, “And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.”
After this encounter, poof! Phillip was gone and this royal official, who now had a clear understanding of who Jesus was, was rejoicing over this revelation and his baptism. His life was forever changed because Phillip was willing to follow a different route.
I love that story!
It reminds me and you of the importance of being open to God. We can’t get stuck on our own path.
God has a much better one that leads to purpose and powerful divine encounters like the one between Phillip and this royal official!
But again, to truly experience God, you’ve got to be open. The Lord’s ways are not like ours. His thoughts are far above our own.
I like to imagine God as one having a panoramic viewpoint—a wide, unobstructed perspective of all angles—as opposed to our limited, tunnel vision. He sees all. He knows all. He knows what He’s doing at all times. It is our job to follow His leading along this road called life.
Today, I don’t believe you’re here by accident. God is nudging you and reminding you that He is with you, orchestrating your destiny and guiding you every step of the way.
Even if you’re running into roadblocks, hindrances and setbacks, don’t be discouraged. There are moments when God will upset our plans and guide us down an entirely different path to get us to our place of destiny.
If you just remain open and obedient like Phillip, God will set you up to experience the miraculous.
What He does will be, by far, better than anything you could cook up in your wildest imagination. I know that not knowing all the details of what God is doing is uncomfortable and having your plans thwarted can be frustrating.
Trust me, I do.
But let God lead you. Let Him guide you. He wants to bless you. He wants to pull you out of your same old patterns and that rut you’ve been stuck in and show you a better way.
This cup of inspiration today is good news for you. God has a better plan. He’s doing a new thing, a better thing, a divine thing. He’s setting you up and hooking you up in ways you wouldn’t believe, all for His glory to be revealed and His purpose to be fulfilled in your life.
To remind you that God is doing something new, I’m stirring Isaiah 43:19 NIV into your cup of inspiration, which says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, continue trusting God’s process. Be committed to following Him, wherever He takes you. Know that if you remain obedient, you’ll end up in the right place at the right time to reap a divine harvest.
Jeremiah 29:11 NLT says, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
Friend, God has a way, a plan—a much better one than you were thinking. Submit to it, even in times of uncertainty and frustration. Go with His flow. Stay in His will and remain open to His leading at all times.
What He does next will surprise and delight you. He’s getting ready to release an overflow of abundant blessings in your life.
Now let’s pray.
God, some of my plans have failed. Some of my hopes have been dashed. Some of my dreams have not come true. But thank You that You didn’t fulfill my hopes and plans, so You could fulfill Your will in my life. Despite not understanding Your process, help me say yes to Your will, because I know You know what’s best for me. In the meantime, I will remain full of faith and anticipate the day when your amazing plans will unfold for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As always, thanks for reading and until next time... may today's cup of inspiration uplift, encourage, and empower you!
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