“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.”
Have you ever felt as though God has been leading you a certain way, and then the door suddenly, inexplicably closes?
“What’s going on?” You may think. “It doesn’t seem to make any sense”
If thats you today, I pray you will be encouraged by this.
I was reading in the book of Acts when 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.” Acts 16:6–7
Two little verses, but they say so much about listening to and obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes God Closes A Door
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? Did Jesus not command, “Go into all the world and preach the good news”?
Of course He did, and we can see, later in from 1 Peter 1 that those regions must have heard the gospel at some stage, but at that particular time, The Spirit of God had a reason He doesn’t disclose for preventing them from going there.
It may seem illogical to our human way of thinking. They were doing something good. More importantly, 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?
We don’t ever learn the why’s and wherefores surrounding this event. We could surmise and speculate about what might have happened had they gone there, but in the end the truth is that God had a reason for it. Only He sees the entire picture, where we see a very small part.
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
When a door inexplicably closes, or things just don’t seem to be going the way we think they should, often the natural instinct is to push against the closed door – beg God to open it.
We feel the intensity of the disappointment, we don’t understand; “Lord how could you do this?” is a common cry.
We might even start to believe it’s a “spiritual attack” put across our path by Satan to discourage us. Sometimes it could be, but how often do we stop to consider is that it may be the Lord Himself who has closed the door.
A few years ago, when a team from our church was going on a mission trip, one of our team members mislaid his passport on the very morning we were due to fly out. He pulled his house and office apart, searching for it. We all prayed. However, in the end with heavy hearts we had to leave without him.
Guess what? The passport was found just hours after our plane took off! By then the Lord had settled our friend’s heart with His peace and we all believed that for reasons only God knew, He had closed the door for that team member, for that time.
We’ve all had times like these in our lives, and we always will. The Holy Spirit leads and guides us through life, and we can either kick against His leading, or be sensitive to His voice and like Paul and Silas, act quickly when we hear His instruction.
We don’t need to know why. We don’t have to understand. We just need to learn to trust Him. And obey Him.
“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” 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 I do; To recognise your prompting and leading and be quick to respond.