Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia,having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. – Acts 16:6-10
As I reflected on my most recent offering on this blog, it occurred to me that I was missing a much more direct, contemporary, and regionally-universal (is that an oxymoron or what?!?!) application: Hurricane Harvey. This massive storm sits off the Texas coast in the Gulf of Mexico, apparently gathering strength and verve prior to landfall that is expected to take place late tonight.
The reports on the various news sources are universal: this is going to be a storm of major impact; not by category size, but by it’s lingering water pumping impact. Some places are expected to receive up to 20 inches of rain over the next few days, perhaps even more. There could be a 7-foot storm surge.
Plans for our church’s Early Childhood Center Open House Friday night were cancelled. We have worked through and continue to refine our own contingency plans for worship and other activities this Sunday. It becomes ever more clear: “Man proposes. God disposes.” And God is disposing us toward a much different Celebration Sunday Event than we had proposed.
As of now, we are planning for our two regular worship services at St. John: 8:15 a.m. Majestic Grace, and 11 a.m. NewSong. God will be praised. We hope that will happen on our regular schedule this Sunday. But it will happen. God’s people will praise his name. In fact, it might well be that there will be other options for praising God and serving our neighbor that come out of this storm.
The question to ask in the face of any of these events is, What is God calling me to do in light of the realities of today? For Paul and his companions being prevented from going into Asia offered them the opportunity to learn of Paul’s vision of the man fromMacedonia who said, “Come on over and help us.” You and I may not have a vision, but we certainly may hear of or see an opportunity to do God’s work that we otherwise would never have seen had our plans not been interrupted by hurricane Harvey.
God’s great desire and our calling is to spread the word of God throughout the world. Whether it is a hurricane or any other unexpected change in plans, it is always our privilege to participate in that mission of salvation and grace.