Wrong turns. Waiting. Road blocks. Waiting. Maybe you have been there. Maybe you are there-traveling a road that isn’t taking you where you want to be. It’s hard to believe but we have been back from South Africa almost two years now. My husband thought his road would return him to Christ Seminary by now and ministering in a South African village. I thought we would be somewhere besides here being used of the Lord in some way. But the Lord is silent. Nothing. No, “I want you here or I want you there.” Nope, nada, no word either direction. Greg Harris discusses this condition in the third chapter of his book The Cup and The Glory.
“You cry out to Him-repeatedly and fervently-but He does not rescue you. The resulting condition is one of perplexity.”
We are perplexed for sure. The Greek word literally means “no way out.” So it would seem we have no way out of this dilemma. No way out of where we are at now.
And they (Paul and his companions) 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. So passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. -Acts 16:6,7
Check out a map. This was a lot of travel through difficult terrain. Asia, Lord? No. Okay, it must be Bithynia. No. Lystra, where they started, to Troas was 500 miles. Paul had 500 miles of wondering and wandering before the Lord would finally give clear direction. But he also had 500 miles of obedience. When the Spirit said no, Paul didn’t try to continue his own way.
“If you are looking for God to reveal the outcome of His plans for you before His timing, you will be highly disappointed with God.”
Let’s face it. Waiting stinks. We may think that we can go ahead and do our own thing and the Lord will bless it, but that scenario steers us off a cliff. Hearing that “no” from God also hurts. We begin to question ourselves and God.
“A “no” from God is just as much of a divine direction-indicator as was the positive revelation of the Macedonian vision. While a “no” from God will not tell you where, it will tell you where not.”
Yes, finally Paul gets direction from the Lord. It is Macedonia where the Church of Philippi would be birthed. Paul was walking by faith and not by sight. He was trusting in the Lord when the answer was no to his own plans. He trusted God’s plan was best. And it was to this church he would write his most encouraging words on joy and contentment.
Let us also walk our road by faith and obedience.