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 planned to go to Asia but God changed his plans. Paul travels to Macedonia instead, and spends time in three towns, Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea. Paul was forced to leave all three towns. In Philippi Paul and Silas were thrown into jail, in Thessalonica there was a riot and in Berea Paul hurried 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, “Did God really send me to Macedonia?”

However, there were many positives. Lydia responded to God and a church was started in Philippi. A slave girl was released from the devil’s power. A jailer and his family were saved and baptized. In Thessalonica, some Jews were persuaded that Jesus was the Christ as did a large number of Greeks and some prominent women. The Bereans came to study the Scriptures with great eagerness, and again many Jews believed as did many Greeks. Paul’s work in Macedonia had 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 think 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.