A Macedonian Man. Pleading.
Acts 16: 9-12 (NRSVA)
9 During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ 10 When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.
11 We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days.
Paul has a vision. Before him stands a man from Macedonia. The Macedonian pleads with him. He is asking for help. Paul comes to.
Paul goes to Macedonia.
Do you sometimes wish you could have such a direct, unambiguous sign from God? A divine message without any ambivalence that tells you what to do and where to go?
A life of faith, like life in general, is full of guess work. Even when we do get a sudden impulse to go somewhere or do something we soon complicate it. We might have an odd dream, or a picture pops into our heard, or we get a sudden intention to do something but then we doubt it. This is a good thing; a life of faith should also be a life of doubt, of honest searching. Unquestioning faith easily becomes complacency. Our questioning is as valuable as our trust.
But sometimes it would be nice to not have to question so much. To get a vision so strong we can’t doubt it.
Imagine it — your eyes filled with a desperate, pleading Macedonian. The dreadful certainty of someone else’s desperation. Is that what we want? Could we cope with such a vision? And yet… we might be more used to these visions than we realise.
With the 24/7 news cycle our eyes these days are full of ‘Macedonian Men’ even if they are not all male and most aren’t Macedonian. Maybe our problem is not a lack of vision but vision overload. It is easier than ever for us to see need and for it to hide in plain sight.
Rather than asking for ‘a’ vision of what to do and where to go — we should perhaps ask God for more vision to see what’s right in front of us.
Show us the ‘Macedonian Men’ around us
Re-show us when you show us and we neglect to notice.
Give us vision.
Give us hope.