Acts 16:6-1o “6Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." 10After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”
There are times it is quite difficult to understand the plans of God. In fact, from a human standpoint there are times God’s plans don’t make a lick of sense to us. He either allows, or in some instances, causes things to happen that are baffling. While in the middle of these times or seasons we look at what is taking place and think; “What on earth is God thinking? Why would He allow such a thing to take place?” There are other times where we look and see great need spiritually, we make our plans to meet those needs, but it seems at every turn we are prevented from accomplishing our tasks. Surely God wants us to succeed with our plans! After all, the need is great, and we have the ability to meet the need. Yet it still seems as if…..well as if God Himself is preventing us at every turn. I wouldn’t be surprised if that wasn’t exactly what was going through the minds of Paul and Silas in our current passage. There was perhaps nothing Paul wanted to do more than tell everyone he met about Jesus. I believe his plan was to go from town to town, find the spot where the people congregated and proclaim the Good News. God seemed to bless their efforts at nearly every turn. Oh sure, they had some tough times, but as far as Paul was concerned it was a small price to pay. Asia was his next target, but the book of Acts makes it clear that God Himself, through the Holy Spirit, was preventing him from accomplishing his goals. If Paul was anything like me this was very frustrating! But frustrating or not, Paul had no interest at all in doing anything that didn’t have the Hand of God behind it. He had wasted way to much of his life doing what he thought was good, even in the name of God, but without the Hans of God behind him. If God was closing the door, then Paul wasn’t looking for an open window.
Just a brief side note, most of us have heard, or even said; “When God closes a door, He opens a window!” Don’t be too quick to believe that. When God closes a door, that’s it, the door is closed. If you proceed to look for an open window, it could very well be that you are more interested in accomplishing your will than you are God’s will. If He closes a door, wait on Him until He points you in the direction of His open door.
Now back to Paul and his closed door.
Once God closed the door for Paul to preach in Asia, Paul just kept going in the direction he was already heading until he made his way to Troas, a town on the coast of the Mediterranean. That night “had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.'" Did I mention Troas was on the coast? Well caddy corner across the coast was Macedonia. Paul’s obedience to that closed door, put him in perfect position to further obey God’s open door and sail to Macedonia. So what’s the big deal? Ever heard of the city of Philippi? Let me make it a little bit easier for you. Ever heard of the New Testament book of Philippians? The first city Paul came to in Macedonia was the city of Philippi. Paul’s first trip to Philippi was the result of that closed door. Perhaps we would have never had the joy of experiencing Philippians had not God closed the door in Asia, or if Paul had looked around for an open window!
The point is this, when God closes a door, it simply means He, you know--- the All Knowing, All Powerful, Sovereign God--- has a better plan. Please understand, I have searched for and found open windows to crawl through. There is no joy in ignoring God’s closed doors. There is little chances of accomplishing anything of eternal significance even if you are doing a “good thing”. Forget “good things” and pursue “God things”, and may you experience your own Philippians joy! (Want to really catch my drift here, take a quick ½ hour and read through Philippians).
Ignoring open windows and looking for God’s opened doors…..most of the time!