Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.
After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bythynia, but the Holy Spirit did not permit them.
So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.
And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, ďcome over to Macedonia and help usĒ. Acts 16:6-9;
We as individuals, organizations and ministries usually have well spelt out plans and program of what we want to achieve and how we intend to get them achieved. Of course, as responsible fellows it is expected that we have definite plans and aspirations for our lives and the people we lead. However, as well-arranged our plans may be, God may sometimes choose to cause an interruption. At such times, what determines our success and what happens to us is how well we are able to accept and flow with that, which the Lord has allowed to come our ways at that particular moment.
In the above passage, Paul and his missionary team had a well-spelt out program for their missionary journey. They had perfected the arrangement to go to Asia to preach the gospel after leaving Phrygia and Galatia, but the Holy Spirit interrupted that plan; He restrained them from going that direction! Since they did not have the Lordís permission to go that way, they also attempted to go to Bythynia, which probably was the next place on their drawn schedule, however, God was not thinking in that direction; He yet set aside their well- arranged schedules one more time and compelled them to wait until His voice came through a night vision to Apostle Paul indicating the direction He would have them go.
Undoubtedly Paul and his missionary team were full of zeal and passion to declare the glorious gospel of the Lord in those cities but had to give in to Godís interruptions of their schedules and plans. Rather than resisting and forcing themselves to stay glued to their initial plans, they humbly gave in to Godís order and patiently waited for His direction, after all He is the Lord of the harvest who knew quite well where the field was ripe for harvest.
Having stayed put in obedience to the Lord, the Holy Spirit revealed the mind of God to them. He directed them to the city of Macedonia where the fruits were ripe for harvest. Their obedience to sail to Macedonia instead, resulted in remarkable miracles and salvation of many people from the gentile nations as they took their journey. Their journey to Macedonia took them through Philippi where Lydia, the Philippiansí Jailer and his entire family members in addition to several others were saved and baptized. How could they have achieved these great things if they had stayed glued to their own plans and resisted what seemed like interruption from God? Although they had to suspend their own plans, schedules and expectations but they were able to achieve what the Lord ordained for that season. They prospered in the will of God.
A lot of us miss out of Godís divine programs for our lives and ministries because we are not ready for His interruptions of our schedules and self-styled plans. Pitiable enough, most of us often consider punctuations from God as an act of the enemy. We are committed to and so meticulous with our programs and pursuits that we plan God out of the whole show! This is so because we have not learnt to be sensitive to the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the hustling and bustling of our pursuits and plans.
It is not enough to be busy doing something for the Lord, what really counts is doing only what is approved of Him at any point in time! If our labour would not be a waste at the end, we must place premium on listening to Godís express instructions on all we do or aspire to achieve. Success in life and ministry is not measured by our laudable activities or great achievements as approved of men and the world; true success is progressing in nothing, but God's perfect will. It does not matter how the world perceive it!
Can we confidently say that our plans and aspirations in life and ministry are those that the Lord approves? If we are in doubt, it is better to get it right than to go our own way or do our own thing. It is exercise in futility to attempt to pursue plans and programs that are not approved of God. Remember, God does not bless brilliant ideas, He blesses His own idea! No more no less! The joy of it all is that God will ever remain committed to us while we pursue His purpose. It does not matter how fierce the challenges on our paths may be, when we pursue His will, we have, not only His blessings but also His total support. Amen.
ĎThere are many devices in the heart of a man but the counsel of God, that alone shall standí. Amen.