Surely Philip could have stayed in Samaria for much longer and had plenty of work to do. This thriving city, full of people and culture, holds all kinds of ministry opportunities. God’s Spirit led him here and he faithfully followed. Philip’s gifts are well received. At a difficult time in the church’s young life, the joy Philip experiences there, along with so many others, must give him hope. Maybe Philip thinks about settling in to stay for awhile.
God, however, has another idea and instructs Philip to leave Samaria and head south to a wilderness road (v. 26) far from the bustling city. Philip leaves quickly, but I wonder if he has any doubts about these instructions. Does he question trading the comforts and the potential of the populated city for the uncomfortable wilderness? Whatever he thought, he leaves the bright lights behind.
The fact that we have a partial view of what God sees fully means that God’s possibilities for our lives often surprise us. Our love for control can make these invitations from God frustrating or confusing. But such divine directions are also gifts. We need the opportunities that help us remember that our lives are not our own.
Philip goes to the wilderness and becomes God’s witness in a new place. God doesn’t explain all the details to him about who he will meet, or how or when he will minister, but Philip trusts God and starts walking. This is our call, too.
When have you noticed God changing your course? How did you feel and respond? What would you have done differently? Consider what God is teaching you about your past so that you will respond to God more fully in your future.
God, thank you for trusting me enough to give me new instructions. Thank you for making me uncomfortable, even when I wish you would not. Help me to follow you in all my ways. Amen.