Have you ever prayed about a situation, felt confident of God’s will, and made your plans, only to discover the door has suddenly slammed shut? Maybe it was relocation to another city, a relationship leading toward marriage, or a job opportunity that seemed so promising. Whatever the situation, the result was confusion, disappointment, and maybe even despair. What was God doing?
Paul and Silas had a similar experience on their second missionary journey. After originally intending to visit previous church plants, they instead decided to move into new territory with the gospel. But the Holy Spirit forbade them from going into Asia (modern-day Turkey). So they went north to Mysia with the intention of heading east to Bithynia. Yet once again the Holy Spirit closed the door.
At that point, they may have wondered why God would prevent them from preaching the gospel. After all, hadn’t Jesus given them the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20)? The answer came to Paul in a dream as the Lord redirected them to Greece—a nation with great metropolitan cities. From there, the gospel could spread more rapidly, and eventually Paul circled around to Ephesus, bringing the gospel to Asia. By the time John wrote Revelation, there were at least seven churches on that continent.
God often uses closed doors to redirect us into His perfect will and timing. Therefore, the wisest response is to rely on His infinite wisdom, wait for His clear direction, and follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings. God’s redirection brings blessing if we’ll simply trust and obey.