Stopped by God

It never fails that when I’m in a hurry to get somewhere someone gets in my way. It doesn’t matter if it’s driving down the road or trying to get through the checkout line at the store, and it has even happened when I’ve been in desperate need of the restroom. Can you relate? And so that is just the way life is, right? But there is also a greater reality to consider, and that is the possibility of God getting in your way. Not only will God get in your way, but we’re told that in Acts 16 that the Spirit forbid Paul to preach in one place and didn’t permit him to go to another place. Paul was stopped by God.

Acts 16:6-10Now 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 Bithynia, but the 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, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.”

Please don’t think that God is not still stopping people and forbidding people from going into certain places and doing certain things. And it wasn’t like those in Asia didn’t need to hear the gospel as much as those in Macedonia. But this speaks to the intentionality of God. God can get you to where He wants you by closing the doors and by a series of what may seem like frustrating events. From my own experience, God can grab your tongue and hold it at the beginning of the most important interview of your life to stop you from going a certain direction. From my experience, God can put the brakes on your plans to move to another city even after you’ve placed a down payment on the house you intended to live in just by speaking softly to you through the reading of His Word. God can stop you by speaking through the mouth of a complete stranger or He can stop you by troubling your spirit and keeping you up all night over a decision you’re about to make.

What this Holy Spirit intervention tells me is that we need to become very familiar with the Holy Spirit’s voice and grow in our relationship with Him. It also tells me that when I sense God is getting in my way, to not force the issue and ignore His prompting just to create my own disaster. We often run into walls that frustrate, but in the greater reality, those are heaven’s guardrails meant to get you headed in the right direction. God has a way He wants us to go and it’s always towards Him and never away from Him. This very moment your life is headed in a specific direction, as is the whole world. If you’re not going God’s way, you should expect His grace-filled intervention. When Paul was forbidden to go one way, He anticipated God sending him another way. Like Paul, wait for God to show you the way, and then walk in it!

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