Following God is hard. Just plain hard.
My pride often tricks me into believing I want to follow Christ, until I am asked to do something rather uncomfortable, then I am able to talk myself out of it with minimal effort.
Until I receive a direct call, text, or email from the Man himself, there is no way to know for sure that I am hearing His requests accurately. Right?
I like to believe the heroes of the Bible had it easier. Even though they were asked to do some rather unlikely things, God always sent His own voice, or at least an angel, to encourage His followers. If an angel appeared before me right now, I guarantee you I would jump out of my chair and immediately do whatever is asked of me. Right?
But alas, I am reminded of Philip. Even though he did encounter an angel, this angel’s request was so far-fetched, so out of left field, it would have been wildly difficult to obey.
Philip does not get a whole lot of credit for spreading the news of Christ, but he deserves abundant recognition. Peter is usually the one credited for starting the Christian church, but the facts are pretty clear: Peter was a racist. Yes, you heard me correctly. You see, in Acts, Philip was the first evangelist to spread the news of Jesus’ salvation to the Gentiles. Philip was the one who revealed to the rest of the apostles that the Holy Spirit was for all people, not just for the Jews. He did this by visiting one of the most condemned and filthy cities of his day, where Jews and Gentiles created a vile mixed race of humans, Samaria.
Philip had a shockingly successful ministry among the Samaritans. It says in Acts 8:6, “And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.”
It would appear to the modern-day reader, and no doubt also appeared to Philip, that he had found his place. The success he was having in Samaria would certainly cause any believer to assume that this was God’s will for him, this was where he belonged.
Just a few verses after Philip arrives in Samaria an angel appears to him and commands him to leave Samaria and walk along a desert road.
Hold up. Philip is converting Samaritans to Christianity left and right and God decides he needs to go walk on a desert road, instead? That can’t be right.
Despite God’s unlikely calling, Philip goes immediately. On this road he finds an Ethiopian eunuch, shows him Jesus, and baptizes him. Because Philip did not hesitate to follow God’s call, Christianity was spread to a new continent, a new government, and a new people who would have been otherwise kept in the dark about the Good News.
Let us never hesitate to follow the Lord to the ends of the earth. For sometimes it is at the end of the earth that we will find His miracles.