Have you ever wondered why sometimes you desperately want to do something for the Lord and you start moving in that direction, only to realize that your good idea was not really a God idea?
And it’s very painful! Isn’t it?
At least it is for me!
Recently, I was faced with the opportunity to do something I really wanted to do. I thought it was a great idea. I thought it was even an open door. It was a good thing. A really GOOD thing!
But God said NO.
And as I look back on it, I think He was saying NO the whole time. I just wanted my good idea to be a God idea and so I began making plans as if He were backing the whole thing. It wasn’t until it came down to the wire that I realized He had not really had His hand on the situation at all.
I wanted Him to back my plans. But He wants to LEAD the way.
Have you ever done that?
Have you ever asked God to back your good plans when He hasn’t lead you into that thing in the first place?
I discovered that I was like Paul when he desperately wanted to go to Asia, but God said NO.
“And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” Acts 16:6-10
Paul wanted to go to Asia, but God said NO. Paul attempted to take his team to Bithynia, but the Holy Spirit did not allow them to. Instead, He called Paul to Macedonia.
There, he met Lydia and some Bible studying women by the waterside in Philippi where he shared the Gospel and Lydia was saved. It was the launch of the first church in Europe and we see God working in very obvious ways.
But what about Asia? What about Bithynia? Why weren’t they allowed to go there? Who was going to reach them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Who was going to disciple them?
I’m sure to Paul, it didn’t make sense.
But God said NO and he obeyed even though it may have broken his heart.
That’s what happened to me recently. God said NO and it didn’t make sense. But I had to obey.
I don’t know where my Macedonia is. I only know I will obey when God says, “This is the way, walk in it.”
God’s “No’s” teach us a lot about God and a lot about ourselves.
- They teach us that His best often looks very different than our good.
- They teach us that His active involvement in the details of our lives demonstrate His amazing love and the power of His presence in our lives.
- They teach us that we are fallible and are prone to miss God and that the best way to avoid heading in the wrong direction is to abide in Him.
- They teach us that even when we abide in Him and even we when seek His face, we won’t always get it right.
- They teach us that even when we say Yes to God’s plan, it doesn’t mean we will complete the task. It may be that God wanted to use us to begin that thing, but He wanted someone else to complete it.
And the lessons we learn? Well, they are definitely worth the pain of it all.
QUESTION: Have you ever had a GOOD idea that wasn’t a GOD idea? How did you handle it? What did you learn?
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