One characteristic of the tourists that visited Maine during the time I lived there was that they would always stop you to ask for directions. They would have their maps all unfolded with their destination circled in red but could never figure out how to get there from where they were. Of course, our favorite comeback was always, "You can't get there from here!" "What do you mean?" was the most common reply. Well, it was true. To get any where in Maine, you must first go through someplace else. You start where you are, go to point B, to point C, to point D and so forth until you reach your destination.
Same holds true in the spirit realm. You can't get where you're going without going through someplace else first.
John 4:3-30: (speaking of Jesus)
3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.
4 But He needed to go through Samaria.
5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink."
. . .
9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked him, and He would have given you living water."
11 The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?
12 "Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?"
13 Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,
14 "but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."
15 The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."
16 Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here."
17 The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,'
18 "for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly."
19 The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.
20 "Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship."
21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.
22 "You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.
23 "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
24 "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
25 The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things."
26 Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."
. . .
28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men,
29 "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"
30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him. [Emphasis mine.]
I know that these verses are normally used to teach on worship but, let's take a look at them from a different point of view. Jesus was on His way to Galilee but He needed to go through Samaria. Why? He had an appointment in time. There was a certain woman who was going to be at Jacob's well at the sixth hour that He was to minister to. The number six represents the flesh or humanity. The sixth hour according to Jewish time would be 12:00 noon. Noon represents a time of revelation, confrontation and heavenly visitation. Jesus met the woman at her point of humanity and upon His confronting her, she received the revelation of the Son of God, the Messiah. The disciples did not understand why Jesus was taking time with this Samaritan woman but no one dared to ask Him. Many will not understand why you are going through certain things. You may hear people say it's because of sin, lack of faith, it's because you are not operating in Biblical principles. But, they do not understand. It was because Jesus took the time to go through that she was able to receive the ministry she needed and, through her testimony, a whole city came to Jesus. There is so much revelation in this scripture but, that is for another time.
In your hour of going through, look to see what revelation God may be trying to reveal to you. In Acts, we read that Paul (formerly Saul) also experienced revelation while going through. He was on his way to Damascus and, while on the road, Jesus appeared to him. Saul fell off his horse (his high place) falling to the ground (being humbled), seeing a vision of Jesus and asking Jesus who He was. The glory of God was so bright that it blinded Saul's natural eyes so he could begin to see spiritual things. Strange thing about all this, the men that were with Saul saw nothing but heard the voice. God used the men to lead Saul to his next destination - Damascus - and then left him there. God will use men to help you get to where He wants you. Read Acts 9:1-8:
Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest
3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.
4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"
5 And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads."
6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."
7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.
8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. [Emphasis mine].
Here I re-emphasize that Saul saw a vision of Jesus and heard the word which He spoke. The men that were with Saul did not see the vision but heard the word which was spoken. When Saul arose from the ground, he opened his eyes but saw no one. He, Saul, received a revelation of Jesus but, seeing no one when he opened his eyes, followed the instructions he had received from the Lord. There are times in our lives when we receive a word from the Lord as to our purpose and destiny. There may be many who hear the word but not all will see the vision God has given you. These same people may be used by God to help you reach a certain place in your process then, because they cannot see your vision, will leave you at that point and continue in their own way. Don't expect everyone to see what you see. Your vision and your destiny is just that, YOURS. God will put people in your life to help you reach certain places in your journey but they may be there only for a season. Keep your eyes on God and not on man.
We are all on our way somewhere - our destiny. But we can't get there from where we are. There are places we must first go through on our journey. There are people waiting on us to come through so they may receive the revelation of our experience.
Again, I had to reflect back over my life. What places had I traveled through on the way to my destiny? These are not physical places but are places in time - many of which were not very pleasant. I went through a place called "Divorce"; I went through a place called "Abuse"; a place called "Lack"; a place called "Poverty"; a place called "Loneliness", a place called "Rejection", a place of "Suicidal Thoughts"; and many other places too numerous to mention. But I had need to go through these places on the way to my destiny. The places I went through and the things I experienced were making me, shaping me, molding me. They were to serve a purpose in my making. In visiting these places, I learned compassion, love and gained wisdom. I learned how to turn to God for what I needed and found Him to be a very present help. God had a plan for me, a word He had already spoken over me before the beginning of time and, we all know, God's word does not return to Him void but it accomplishes that which He sent it forth to do. I would never be able to minister to people who are going through these places unless I had gone through them first. I can have genuine compassion for those I minister to who are experiencing abuse, rejection, loneliness, divorce and much more. It was necessary for me to go through these places, be delivered and healed so I could show others how to come through.
I once took a trip from Maine to South Carolina by plane. It was the strangest thing. I had to fly from Maine to Newark, New Jersey to Chicago, Illinois before arriving in Charleston, South Carolina! This made absolutely no sense to me. Maine to South Carolina, for the most part, should be a straight line. So why Chicago? That was the flight plan. If I wanted to go to South Carolina, I first had to go through Chicago.
That's the way life is - there are many detours and out-of-the-way places we must go through on the way to our destiny. Jesus had need to go through Samaria - He had an appointment with the Samaritan woman, an appointment in time.
During my life time, I can see that the places I visited in time - most of which I visited due to bad planning, bad judgment or bad choices - I, in effect, took myself there. Now I realize that on my way to where I am going I may need to minister to someone who is going through one of the places I have already visited and gone through. Now, the point here is "I have gone through". I went there, I went through, I have come out and am healed from that experience. I, personally, do not believe you can minister to anyone regarding a place you have been through until you have come through and are healed from that experience. If you attempt to minister without first being healed, you minister out of your pain, frustration, anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, etc. and you pass that spirit on to whomever you are ministering to. You must minister out of your deliverance, not out of your pain. As Paul puts it in Philippians 1:15-17:
15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will:
16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains;
17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.
Should you try to minister out of your pain, you add to the affliction or, in other words, you add to the bondage a person is already in. When ministering, you must minister out of love.
How can you give someone directions to a place you have never been or to a place you have not arrived at yourself? God will use your tests as a testimony. Yes, He can and may give you the wisdom to minister to someone who is dealing with a situation you have never had to live through but, I believe that is why we are allowed to experience many things in life - so we can minister to someone going through the same place.
Prayerfully now, my steps are ordered by the Lord (Psalms 37:23) and any decisions I make are made with the counsel of the Holy Spirit. This should cut down on the bad decisions, bad judgment and bad choices drastically!
There were many other Biblical characters which had to pass through some places on the way to where they were going. In point, Joseph, in Genesis 37 - 39, saw himself in a dream with his brothers bowing before him. Just a side note here, you cannot share your dream with everyone! Before he got to that place in time (his destiny) he was thrown into the pit, was a slave in Potiphar's house, was falsely accused and thrown into prison. Once he went through all that, he was finally taken to the palace and was able to fulfill his destiny. During his time in the pit, being sold as a slave, being falsely accused and thrown into prison, Joseph kept his God-given dream before him. Even though it did not look good and seemed as though it would never happen, Joseph kept a godly attitude. He trusted God to work it out. He did not complain or become bitter at those who lied and falsely accused him. He kept his eyes on God and kept his dream before him. God knew from the beginning of time that He would need His man in place in Egypt at the time of the great famine in order to provide necessary provision to His people. When Joseph reveals himself to his brothers he stated that what they meant for evil, God meant for good. God, knowing the evil intents of Joseph's brothers, orchestrated every move, placing Joseph in position, processing him so that by the time he stood before Pharaoh he was ready for the opportunity that was about to present itself, that being the position of Pharaoh's right-hand man. Joseph was betrayed, lied about, thrown in jail and forgotten, but God! I believe that Joseph kept his dreams and vision before him even while he was going through bringing him to the time and place of his divine appointment. Because of the position Joseph was placed in he was able to provide necessary provisions to the children of Israel during the famine as well as providing the best land for their cattle.
Moses was another one. Moses escaped death as a baby, was raised in Pharaoh's palace, but had to go through the desert - spending 40 years on the back side of the desert before he walked into his destiny. Moses decided that God's call on his life was more important than the prestige and glory that would come from his serving Pharaoh. He gave it all up to become God's man.
Oh, then there were the three Hebrew children. Remember them? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. If you read their account in Daniel, you will see that they refused to bow before the idol of King Nebuchadnezzar and were thrown into the fiery furnace. Talk about your fiery trials! And they came through without any burns, singes or even the smell of smoke! Not only did they come out, but once they came through the fiery trial, they were promoted! Know that Jesus is the fourth man in your situation.
In Isaiah 43:2 we read:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
God may show you the beginning and the ending of your vision, dream or destiny but, rarely, will He show us the in between stuff, the places we must go through to get there. Why? Most of us would not subject ourselves to the process. God never said we would not have to go through but, He did say He would be with us as we go through. Going through is not to devastate us but to make us. Do not let bitterness and unforgiveness of past hurts, situations and circumstances hinder you from the destiny God has for you. Forgive and move on to the greater things.
What places are still awaiting your arrival?