God Leads Us Along

We know that God leads us.  But sometimes when we follow where God leads us, we can wind up in a mess.  What happens to us can be very different than what we expect.

In Acts 16, God led Paul and Silas to Philippi in Macedonia, Acts 16:12.  While there, they prayed with the women who met by the riverside on the sabbath, v.13.  They led Lydia to the Lord and she opened her home to them, v.14-15.  And as they were going to prayer one day, Paul cast the spirit of divination out of a woman who had been following them many days, v.16-18.

When this woman’s masters saw that her evil spirit was gone and they could no longer make money from her divinations, they had Paul and Silas arrested, beaten, and imprisoned, v.17-24.  This is not what Paul and Silas expected when they obeyed the Lord’s call to preach in Macedonia, Acts 16:10.

Yet, in Acts 16:25, we learn what to do when we find ourselves in trouble after obeying the Lord’s will and direction for our lives.  Sometimes God leads us into bad circumstances and when we’re there we’re tempted to fuss with God.  But this text shows us what we are supposed to do there.

Recognize that God led your there.  You may not be there as the result of misunderstanding God’s will or as the result of sin in your life.  You may be there because this is where God wants you to be.  At the moment, Paul and Silas could not figure out why God allowed them to be badly beaten and thrown in jail.  This wasn’t the chastening hand of God, this wasn’t the consequence of some sin, and this wasn’t a misunderstanding of God’s will.

Look for the presence of God there.  Paul and Silas didn’t start praying and praising God until midnight.  Up to then, they may have just been recovering from the trauma of their beating.  Nevertheless, at some point that night, they realized that they weren’t alone in that cell.  God was in there with them.  And they started praying and singing.

We sing a hymn called “God Leads Us Along”.  The chorus is “God leads his dear children along.  Some through the waters, some through the flood, some through the fire, but all through the blood; Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song, in the night season and all the day long”.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego found God in the fire; Moses and the Jews found God while going through the flood; Jesus found God to be in the wilderness; and God was with Paul and Silas in prison.  When God was with Jesus in Gethsemane, he sang a hymn and prayed to his Father.  He was a good example.

Pray and praise God there.  God is more often found in the valley than he is on the mountain top.  David wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me”.  He found the Lord to be in the valley.  And when you know that God is with you in the valley, you can talk to him in prayer and praise him in song.

Looking back on your past valleys, you found yourself closer to the Lord down there than on the mountain tops.  It is much more profitable to enjoy your time with the Lord in the rough place than it is to fuss with him and ask him why you’re there.  He’s got a plan or you wouldn’t be there.

In time, it will become evident to you what God is doing.  Be still.  Wait. Pray. Praise God.  It wasn’t long after Paul and Silas started praising God that the earth quaked.  And you already know what happened after that.  The jailer and his household were saved.