Video blog with some thoughts about how we can handle ourselves in times of high anxiety.
I know you have been in this position. Suddenly you feel like you should go to a certain place, or go down a certain trail (road, path, aisle, etc.). You’re not sure why, it’s just a feeling. You go about your business to finish what you came to do when it seems like all of a sudden someone crosses your path and in some form or another seeks your attention.
Now when this happens to me, I know I have some choices. I can look directly at the person and greet them trying to let them know how busy I am. I can pretend not to see them and just move on. Or, I can stop what I’m doing and really notice them and begin to talk. Has my day been interrupted? Yes. Does my anxiety about not finishing what I need to creep in? Yes. In the end is it worth having my day interrupted especially when I find out that particular person needed to talk with me in that moment? Absolutely!
My guess is that happens to us more than we realize. We can get so wrapped up in our day to day tasks and to do lists that we can forget the most important task we should do is to love and serve God which leads us to love and serve other people.
Philip was prompted by the Spirit to go down a certain road to a certain place. Take some time to re-read the scripture above. How was he prompted? It doesn’t say. My personal experience is I have felt a nudging in my spirit to do something or go somewhere. I have also had people come up to me (more than one) and mention the same thing (without them knowing the others said it). I have also read scripture and have come across passages and sense God leading me to do something similar. This also happens when I read other books. The point is to always be open to, and discerning, what God is asking us to do on a daily basis.
While on the path, Philip notices an important official riding a chariot down the road and reading. He could have gave a polite greeting and went on his way; but Philip listened to what the Ethiopian was reading. In my mind, when Philip heard the Ethiopian reading he stopped in his tracks. This caused him to stop the chariot and begin the conversation with Philip.
This is a passage that comes into my mind and heart a lot. We just never know who we will run into or what God will lead us to that day; but we can go with the attitude, “hey, why not!” There are people in our paths that need our particular gifts, our particular past hurts we dealt with or are dealing with, our particular knowledge and skills to encourage, support, and build them up to become more of the person God created them to be. When our hearts are open to God, relationships become more important.
We are given opportunities to interact with other people. Sometimes we get to witness a life change. More often than not we get to people one of several people who help and we do not get to see the results.
If we are open to the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit, we will notice people and situations and go into them knowing that God is working there and is inviting us to be part of it. We just never know what the outcome will be.
Did Philip know how his chance encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch would turn out? No. But he still listened to the Spirit, stopped and listened to the Ethiopian, and professed Christ to him. Then, almost out of no where, baptism was talked about and they spotted water. The eunuch saw the water and basically said, “hey, why not?” He must have sensed that his life was changed because of what he had just heard and then decided the time was right to be baptized.
After baptizing him, Philip left. Did he get to see what happened next? No. Tradition says that the eunuch went back to Ethiopia and began to teach and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, starting and forming the Christian church in Ethiopia.
Listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. You just never know who you will cross paths with or what will change because you accepted God’s invitation to work with him.
Luke 2:1-7 In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.
It is easy, sometimes, to step out in faith and trust God and the calling he places on our lives. We never know what events will happen. The real question is how we will handle these events.
Joseph could have told Mary he would be back after registering, thinking the journey would be too arduous for her to travel that distance. But there must have been a sense of pride and ownership for the life and the child and his wife that Joseph felt. So, he went to Bethlehem to have his wife and child placed under his name. This act also fulfilled what God spoke through the prophet Micah saying the child will be born in Bethlehem.
When situations arise, and they do not seem to fit with the life God has called you to live, do you look at them at them as distractions that do not fit? Or, could we just continue to step out and look back to see how our lives and events really fit together? Often, looking back we can see how the events in our lives are actually woven together in a beautiful tapestry; but we cannot see it at the time it takes place.
Jesus, the events of your birth seem like they do not fit together; but knowing the full story, we can see God moving in your earthly parents’ lives. May we live to see God moving in our lives daily and trust him unconditionally, even when it doesn’t make sense. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.