During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia. Acts 16:9-10

Paul plans to go to Asia but God has other ideas. He travels to Macedonia instead and spends time in three towns, Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea. However, Paul is forced to leave all three towns. In Philippi Paul and Silas are thrown into jail, in Thessalonica there is a riot and in Berea Paul hurries away to avoid more trouble.

We tend to expect if God sends us on a mission it will be successful. We don’t expect to be driven out of town. I wonder if Paul ever doubted his guidance, saying, “God did you really send me to Macedonia?”

However, there are many positives. Lydia responds to God and a church starts in Philippi. A slave girl is released from the devil’s power. A jailer and his family are saved and baptized. In Thessalonica, some Jews are persuaded that Jesus is the Christ as did a large number of Greeks and some prominent women. The Bereans study the Scriptures with great eagerness, and again many Jews believe as did many Greeks. Paul’s work in Macedonia has far-reaching effects and today we have the blessings of Paul’s letters to the Philippians and the Thessalonians.

We don’t always see the fruit of our efforts at the time. Sometimes God sends us into troubled situations and we may be forced to leave before we’ve finished the job. Yet God’s purposes aren’t thwarted. His spirit continues to work in the lives of people long after we have left the situation.