“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
I was reading in the book of Acts this morning and this caught my attention:
“Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there.”
Two little verses, but they say so much about listening to and obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes God Closes Doors
The Holy Spirit had forbidden them to speak the word in ‘Asia’ and then had prevented them from entering Bithynia.
Did God not want the gospel preached in these places? Hadn’t Jesus commanded, “Go into all the world and preach the good news..”?
Yes He had, and we can see from 1 Peter 1 that those regions must have heard the gospel at some stage but at that particular time, God had a reason He doesn’t disclose for preventing them from going there.
We don’t ever learn the why’s and wherefores surrounding this event. We could surmise and speculate but in the end the fact is that God had a reason for it. He sees the entire picture, where we only see a very small part.
I mean, it seems pretty illogical doesn’t it, to our human way of thinking? They were doing something good. They were obeying the ‘Great Commission’ of Jesus – taking the good news of the gospel to a hurting, lost world. Why would God close the door?
The important thing is that they knew the voice of the Holy Spirit and were obedient to His prompting and leading.
Trusting when we don’t understand
Often in life when a door closes, or things just don’t seem to be going the way we think they should, we feel the intensity of the disappointment. We want to kick against the closed door – beg God to open it, pray against the “spiritual attack” sent to discourage us. But what if it’s actually God Himself who has closed the door?
When we have believed that God has led us thus far, or promised us something, and then the door seems to inexplicably close on us, we might cry to God ‘but you promised!’ We might say “but I’m doing this ‘for you’ Lord; it’s something good. I don’t understand!”
We don’t need to know why. We don’t have to understand. We just need to learn, as it says in Proverbs 3:5,6 to trust Him with our whole heart. And to be obedient- to act quickly when we hear His instruction.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” Isaiah 55:8
When we look to Him he promises to direct our steps- every step of the way.
“There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.”
There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand. Proverbs 19:21
A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9
Lord thank you that you see all and know all. Help me to be tuned into your voice today in everything I do; To recognise your prompting and leading and be quick to respond.
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