Have you ever wanted to do something but felt like God wasn’t allowing it? Or felt like you were called to something but didn’t understand why it was taking so long?
During Paul’s second missionary journey he had decided he wanted to go to Asia, but was stopped by the Holy Spirit. “And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.” Acts 16:6-7
Was Paul wrong for wanting to take the gospel to Asia? No, that is what he was called to do. To take the gospel out, but for some reason God wanted to take Paul in a different direction. Why? Only God knows. Now we can talk about maybes all day, but the maybes don’t matter. What matters is that Paul listened to where God wanted to take him and followed the Lord’s leading.
When we read things like this in the bible I think we tend to overlook it. It just seems like another detail from the author, but we can learn something from this. Often times in life we think God is leading us in a direction that He is not, and we have to be able to see that so we follow God where He is taking us. That isn’t always the most easy thing to do though. In my life there has been ministries or opportunities that I have thought that must be what God wants me doing, but then I get frustrated because the door gets closed. God wasn’t stopping me from serving He was pushing me in another direction because He wanted me elsewhere and we need to be ready for that to happen.
This is not to give you an excuse to stop serving and stop pursuing what you think God wants for your life because “what if He doesn't”. It is to encourage you to make sure you are seeking God first and not letting your own desires get in the way of where God may be taking you. James 4:13-17 tells us not to make our own plans for the future but to have the Lord’s plans for us as priority. Saying if God wills it then we will do this, or that. It is good to have a plan and to start preparing to serve Him, but be ready at any moment to change direction if God asks. That isn’t exactly an easy thing to do. We need to make sure that we are going before God by reading our bibles and praying that God would lead us, and that we would be open to what He wants for our lives.
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105