Now the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip,saying,
"Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down
from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is desert. Acts 8:26
If you visit friends who live on the coast, they will know of a local path to the beach. You may walk over wooden planks instead of beautiful boardwalks, and the occasional thorn may stick you, but chances are good you're at a prime beach location. It's a spot barely dotted with locals who quietly allow rows and rows of tourists to pack in from an entry point at a much farther distance.
Crowds were packing in to hear Philip preach and see him perform miracles. He had no plans to leave Samaria. Then, just like that, God sent word to Philip that he must hit the dessert road. . . and he had no idea why.
How many of us would have said, "But have you seen the crowds who are coming to worship? Why am I being sent to the desert alone?"
In Philip's case, we know why. God wanted him to encounter the Ethiopian official.
Following Christ involves taking a less populated and often lesser-known path. Sometimes this path is not well-defined, so you find that your steps are more hopeful than sure.
Phillip was drawing crowds, but was suddenly sent to the desert to talk to a single man. How many of us would walk away from the admiration of the masses to travel to a desolate place for one conversation?
God didn't send Philip to the desert forever - just for a moment.
The path less taken does have its advantages. It gives you an opportunity to view God's creation as He intended it - wild and free, not safe and manicured. Without all the noise, you hear His voice more easily. You're not fighting crowds who have chosen an easier, more traveled route. No, this less-traveled path gives you quiet solitude, populated only by those who reside there or who have walked this same path previously.
And you learn that, if you must, you can travel this path alone. Because if you know who is leading you, you know where it leads.
Lord, I may choose a different path to the beach today as a reminder that Your path is different from all that the world offers. Yours is the only path to eternal life.
Source: Devotions for the Beach
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