Day after day the congregations became stronger in faith and larger in size. They went to Phrygia, and then on through the region of Galatia. Their plan was to turn west into Asia province, but the Holy Spirit blocked that route. So they went to Mysia and tried to go north to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t let them go there either. Proceeding on through Mysia, they went down to the seaport Troas. That night Paul had a dream: A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” The dream gave Paul his map. We went to work at once getting things ready to cross over to Macedonia. All the pieces had come together. (Acts 16:5-9) MSG
Have you ever thought that you so clearly heard the voice of God but then things just didn’t turn out? Did you feel like God was working against you? Did you think you might have missed him?
I sure have!!! There’s been many times in my life that I plan and pray and then step forth in faith only to hit an unseen wall. Then discouragement and doubt set in. I realized the other day that I am in good company. In the passage above we find Paul and his crew travelling through regions sharing Jesus. Verse 5 tells us that their congregation became stronger in faith and larger in size. Then verse 6 happens. God begins to redirect them. They had plans to turn west but the Holy Spirit blocked that route. They tried to go north but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t let them go there either. What a crossroads!
Here they are, succeeding in ministry and growing and in the next breath the Lord blocks their way! Now what?!?! What is amazing to me is we don’t see the Bible telling us that they threw a fit, blamed God and gave up. In verse 8 we see, proceeding on through Mysia, they went down to the seaport Troas. They kept going! They didn’t know how, where or why, but they trusted that God had blocked their way for a reason and kept going.
In verse 9 Paul has a dream and the Bible tells us that the dream gave Paul his map and all the pieces came together. Notice God didn’t give him a dream and then they went. They kept going, trusting that God would provide a way and then God told him the next step. We can’t get stuck waiting on God so much that we aren’t moving. My husband always says it’s easier to turn a moving horse then one stubbornly standing still. That’s so true! We have to move, being willing to have God redirect us, willing to hit some road blocks.
Sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged and give up after you’ve been following God and hit road block after road block. Sometimes it feels like God is working against you, but it’s in those moments we have to press in harder, go a little farther, trust a little more. It’s not easy, but the payoff is that eventually all the pieces will come together.
1 Corinthians says that we see things dimly now but we will see clearly. Sometimes God gives us glimpses of that here on earth and the pieces of his grand glorious plan make sense. Other times it requires an extra measure of faith and trust that we will see clearly in eternity the magnificence of his plan.
God, I pray that you would give us strength to keep going; to press in and hold onto you. Help the pieces of our life to come together. Give us strength to trust you when none of it makes sense. Help us remember ALL your promises are yes and Amen. You truly have a great master plan, even when it’s not made clear to us yet.