Our 14 year old dryer has an “End of Cycle” signal. When set to “on,” the dryer emits a piercing, five-second buzz at the completion of the drying cycle. Let me simply say, when the cycle is over, you know it!
I am mindful, however, that we are not always offered this luxury in life and in ministry. The One who “changes the times and the seasons” (Daniel 2:21 AMP), may not always offer a perceivable ear-piercing, five-second buzz to alert us that our season is over in a particular setting.
In Acts 8, we join Philip in the middle of a revival. Preaching Christ to the people of Samaria, “The crowds were united by what they heard Philip say and the signs they saw him perform, and they gave him their undivided attention. With loud shrieks, unclean spirits came out of many people, and many who were paralyzed or crippled were healed. There was great rejoicing in that city” (verses 6-8 CEB). Suddenly, God tells Philip, “Get up and go south to the road that runs from Jerusalem down to Gaza.” (This is a desert road)” (verse 26 AMP). No “End of Cycle” signal, no heads up, no “sensing that this season of ministry is coming to a close,” and no farewell banquet. Just “Get up and go.”
Upon his arrival, Philip ministers to a Eunuch and baptizes him. At this moment, it would be easy to think that God is going to replicate what He did in Samaria. But, instead, “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord [suddenly] took Philip [and carried him] away [to a different place]; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the good news [of salvation] to all the cities, until he came to Caesarea [Maritima]" (verses 39-40 AMP). What? Wait a minute! “I just got here and now it’s over?”
Can you relate? Perhaps there was no “End of Cycle” signal in your journey and yet you find yourself facing transition. May I offer two words of encouragement?
First, rest in “the kind intention of His will” (Ephesians 1:5). In this season of multiple transitions, I am learning that when things do not appear to be “going my way,” it is not because God is mean, or angry, or is "trying to teach me a lesson.” God does not use a cattle prod, wear spurs, and wield a 2x4. He does not scream, manipulate, or dangle carrots in front of us. Quite to the contrary, God operates with kindness. Why? Because that is who He is. Know this, whether your season was long or short, fruitful or seemingly pointless, tranquil or tumultuous, you can rest in the “kind intention of His will (Ephesians 1:5).
Second, be the Good News wherever you go, whenever you get there. Philip boldly preached the Word in Samaria. On the desert road to Gaza, Philip obediently followed the leading of the Holy Spirit and preached Christ to the Eunuch. And when he unexpectedly found himself in Azotus, Philip preached the Good News. While the Scriptures don’t indicate Philip’s response to transition, it is clear that he was committed to honoring the instruction of Jesus in Matthew 10. “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (verses 7-8 AMP). The timing of Philip’s arrival and departure did not minimize the power of the Gospel.
I rejoice in the fact that God moves in kairos timing – moments and seasons – rather than minutes and seconds. I believe, even in the midst of transition, God invites us to live in a winsome fluidity of the Holy Spirit, being fully present when we are present, completely separate from chronos timing. Wherever you go, whenever you get there, preach that the Kingdom of God is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons… freely.
Be encouraged today. Whether you’ve heard an unmistakable “End of Cycle” signal, sensed a divine, “Get up and go,” or have been suddenly transported to a new setting, know this. God goes before you and He is your rear guard. You are under His wings and beneath you are the everlasting arms. You are hemmed in, safe in the refuge of His everlasting, unshakable, and unfathomably kind love. Today, join with the Psalmist in joyful expectation, "Yet I am confident I will see the Lord's goodness while I am here in the land of the living" (Psalm 27:13 NLT). Indeed, your times are in His hands (Psalm 31:15).
Looking for more encouragement like this? Check-out 31 Days of Encouragement, available for purchase on-line. With beautiful simplicity, these 'keep one ~ share one' devotionals open reader's eyes to the activity of God in their every day lives and encourage another step in their faith journey.