And they 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. Acts 16:6-7
In 2013, Google bought Waze for $966,000,000. Waze is an app that works on smartphones and tells you the quickest driving routes to get where you’re going. The price was so high because there is a huge market for helping people avoid traffic and detours. As human beings we hate being delayed, we despise setbacks, and we want smooth sailing. So, it makes sense that an app that can help us avoid roadblocks is extremely popular.
I wonder if the Apostle Paul wished he had Waze. Two times he gets to a place where he can go no further. The scriptures say that he was “forbidden from going to speak the word in Asia” and that they attempted to go to Bithynia, but “the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.” Those two detours cost Paul many miles of walking and more time on the road. Do you think Paul was frustrated? Do you think he was confused? He had a plan and it was falling apart beneath him.
Paul was an Apostle and he was unsure of God’s plan. I love that because I think his experience is one many of us can relate to. How many of us have come to the end of the road and been unsure of our next step? However, there’s something more going on in this passage that we shouldn’t miss. Hitting the roadblock was the way God directed. Paul didn’t wait too leave until he heard the whole plan from God; he started to move and trusted God would direct and redirect as necessary. I think Paul’s philosophy could be summarized: Go until you get a no.
You don’t need to wait to move until you know God’s full plan. You will probably never fully know his will, but it will be revealed as you walk with him. Assuming you don’t know his full plan, what’s one step in the direction of love that you can take today? Take it.
By Ryan Paulson