The words “never say never” ring truer the older I become. Growing up I had heard stories of people saying they would never go there or never do this. But God, with his unfailing sense of humour, sent them to that place or called them to the thing they were refusing ever to try. And we have all heard the story of Jonah enough times to know that saying never to God rarely turns out the way we want.
Philip, on the other hand, didn’t say no to God when he was called to travel the road to Gaza. I’m sure he may have questioned or hesitated (or at least I would have) before travelling a road with no destination in mind. But instead of succumbing to doubt and skepticism, he departed. Philip crossed paths with an Ethiopian treasurer, and the Holy Spirit told him to approach the man. Philip, disregarding the possibility of embarrassment, eagerly made his way over to the Ethiopian; a decision that changed the treasurer’s life forever.
Philip’s obedience is a characteristic of which we should surely take note. His desire to love God, to love people, and to further the kingdom is a passion that should still be embodied today. Just as Philip was called to approach a foreigner, a gentile, a high-ranking servant of a queen, so we are also called to be obedient and listen to who God calls us to love, or where he calls us to go, regardless of whether we previously told him we never would.
I have found that the places, people, or things I have said never to, are exactly where, who, or what God calls me to. When I finally, and often begrudgingly, humble myself to listen to God, I find that my fears, my worries, my doubts and insecurities about the never I had painstakingly tried to avoid, all shrink down as I am filled with God’s peace. I am reminded that I have nothing to fear because God is on my side. I have nothing to worry about because Christ carries my worries and my burdens. I have nothing to be insecure or ashamed of because I am made in the image of God. And I have nothing to doubt because God is always faithful.