Most assume that ancient believers possessed a much greater anointing and insight. It is believed that they gained an inroad with God that can’t be accessed in the same way today. Paul and the early disciples are imagined as being more than mere flesh and blood.
This outlook is rarely beneficial. It keeps modern believers from examining the relevant stories and drawing personal examples from their lives. Rather than seeing the disciples as available models, they’ve become almost mythological figures.
Sometimes the 12 experienced incredible moments of revelation, but other times they had to contend with unsettling challenges. These men and women undoubtedly possessed a tremendous anointing, but they also had to find a way forward in the midst of profound confusion.
Let me illustrate this reality. In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were desperately trying to determine their next assignment. They understood that sometimes God’s direction was evident, but on other occasions, it would require deeper exploration and engagement.
“They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia and were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia” (Acts 16:6, MEV).
This beloved duo originally planned to travel to the far reaches of Asia, but as their way was blocked, they wisely pivoted. Not afraid to think on their feet, they were always prepared to keep listening and adapting.
“When they came near Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not allow them. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas” (Acts 16:7-8).
Once again Paul and Silas needed to process the leading of the Lord. What they originally imagined as they began their journey wasn’t what they witnessed as they went further down the road. However, those discontinuities didn’t discourage them. They were willing to cast aside the “maps” and transverse territories far outside their realm of experience.
Ultimately, a clear sense of direction emerged. In the midst of deep intercession, Paul experienced a heavenly vision that helped him uncover the elusive next step.
“During the night a vision appeared to Paul: A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ After he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them” (Acts 16:9-10).
In the end, Paul and Silas finally arrived in Greece. Nevertheless, they reached this God-ordained destination only after making several unintended stops. Throughout all of this, they had to learn to carefully meditate on what the Lord was showing them.
Sometimes a destiny will only be realized after you expectantly advance into the chaos. God is undoubtedly inviting you on a beautiful journey. However, you’ll never discover that astounding passageway if you’re reluctant to move.
It is time for you to truly process the leading of the Lord.