Ever have one of those days where it seems nothing is going right? I had one of those a while back. I went to my regular barber shop, wrote my name on the waiting list and sat down to wait. But my name was never called. People were coming and signing in after me and getting waited on before me. So I went to another nearby barbershop, only to find the wait was too long.
I had no more time, as I had to get to a Bible study on the other side of town. After the Bible study I saw a barber shop nearby. I got waited on right away. The barber asked me where I worked, and I told him I gave Bible studies. He told me he wanted to learn more about the Bible. He did not want personal studies, but he did want the Bible study guides and some literature I had in my car. As I drove away I realized why the first couple of places never waited on me. The Holy Spirit was working on the barber’s heart across town, and so He worked things out to get me where I needed to be. Something Similar happened to Paul and Silas.
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. Acts 16:6 NLT
I wonder if Paul and Silas saw it that way? Did they realize it was the Holy Spirit that was preventing them from preaching in Asia or did they blame it on the devil? What may have looked like a victory for the dark side was actually a victory for God. Often when I lose control of a situation and things don’t go my way, I am tempted to think that evil is getting the upper hand, when in reality God is still in control. He is just not doing things my way!
God had a plan to save Asia, but Paul and Silas’s current missionary tour was not a part of God’s plan at that time. Earlier I asked if Paul and Silas saw it that way, and maybe they did. However, I know many times today when we set out with goals, we get discouraged when they are not realized according to our plan. It’s not necessarily that things did not go according to God’s plan; they just did not go according to our plan. God had another plan.
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. So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas. Acts 16:7-8 NLT
Wow, nothing seemed to be going right!
Several years ago I lost my job and my fiancee, and nothing was going right at my new job. It was so bad it made me wonder if I was even supposed to be born, or if I was an accident that God did not know what to do with! Looking back now, it was just a little bump in the road to better things and the best years of my life. Stay with me here.
That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there. Acts 16:9-10 NLT
Ah! That is why there was a roadblock on the way to Asia, Mysia and Bithynia! It wasn’t the devil getting the upper hand, just like it wasn’t the devil getting the upper hand when I could not get my hair cut. The Holy Spirit was using those roadblocks to get Paul and Silas to where they needed to be!
Remember God has a plan for your life, even when it seems things are going wrong. Remember when everything seems to be going wrong, God is still very much in control. He just may not be doing things our way.
The Holy Spirit is working on hearts all over the world. Instead of telling the Spirit where to work, we need to be willing to work wherever the Spirit is working. That may mean going to another side of the world, or another side of town.