Acts 8:26-31 “And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candance queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.”
Acts 9:10-17 “And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth. And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightiest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.”
As American men were being sent to all corners of the world to serve their country in the midst of the global conflict of World War II, Chaplain Stewart Robinson wrote the following (from “Strength for Service”):
“There is more reason in our unanticipated movements and more preparation than we realize. Philip was sent on a ‘blind date.’ But the all-seeing eye of God was looking into the desert, and the man to meet Philip came. He was reading God’s word about the Saviour. The ground was prepared … So God uses us in many places.”
Maybe your 2022 didn’t turn out like you expected. Maybe God’s plans didn’t align with your plans, and you found yourself in an unexpected and seemingly undesirable desert. While there, maybe you were able to make an impact that was obvious at the time, or maybe you are still wondering about the purpose and meaning of it all as the calendar flips to 2023.
In the following chapter in Acts, Ananias is sent on a mission that also made no sense to him at the time. Just to make sure he was hearing the Lord’s calling properly, he asked again. But, like Philip, once he had his orders, he quickly and directly obeyed. And as with the eunuch, God had perfectly prepared Saul for the engagement.
We must remind ourselves that there is more reason in our unanticipated movements and more preparation than we realize. The all-seeing eye of God is always looking into the desert and perfectly preparing the way. The same happened in 2022 and the same will happen in 2023.
PLEASE PRAY FOR FAITHFUL OBEDIENCE IN ALL THE SITUATIONS THE LORD SENDS US IN THE NEW YEAR. We must be faithful for the blind-dates that God has prepared for us.