Undoubtedly one of our greatest models in sharing the Gospel is the Apostle Paul. But can you just imagine what he was like, back at home base, Antioch or Jerusalem or Ephesus, on home assignment for more than a couple of weeks – he must have been like a cat on a hot tin roof, just waiting to get back out on the mission field.
So imagine how he felt when he hit the wall in his attempts to evangelise Asia. We read:
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 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. (Acts 16:6 – 10)
It must have seemed like a maze to him – knocking on door after door only to find it closed, until he received the vision and headed down the right path. And we are so glad He did, because some of the most precious letters and experiences passed on to us come as a result of where The Holy Spirit led them.
This experience causes us to pause and consider some of the walls God puts in our path in His mercy and for His glory. Sometimes it is to re-direct us like for Paul, Silas and Timothy. Sometimes it is to prepare us, as God does a work in us before His promise is fulfilled, like David and Joseph in Genesis. And sometimes it is to keep us from a mistake, like the storm was for Jonah.
When God puts a wall in your path. Give Him thanks for His mercy and take the gift that He presents you, the opportunity to get on your knees, to pray, to seek His will and His timing, and ask what it is He wants you to do in the face of that wall. Who knows, you might receive a vision bringing new direction, you might experience a greater work in your life that prepares you for what is ahead. And you might, though I hope not, but still you might hear a donkey talk, telling you to turn around before you make a very big mistake.
Whatever happens – thank God for the merciful walls He puts in our path, and remember God’s Word that teaches us to:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5 – 6)