Have you ever had something in your heart to do that you felt was a good thing to do, even a Godly thing to do, but you kept encountering roadblocks in your way? Try as you might, there were these pesky obstacles that never seemed to go away? I remember, as a child in church, when any hindrance popped up that prevented us from doing anything that we thought was spiritual, you could count on it – the devil was going to get the blame for it. However, as I grew older I came to realize that the devil was not always the one responsible for the impediment; sometimes it was God.
Years ago, when my wife and I served as youth pastors, we took a group of about 50 teens to Washington, D.C. The very first day of our trip was a disaster. The bus kept breaking down and we had to stop, get off the bus, wait and repeat the process. Eventually, we had to get off the bus and wait for another one to pick us up and carry us on to our destination. All of us were very frustrated at this point, and way behind schedule. When our new bus arrived, we proceeded north. Just outside of Richmond, VA, as we crossed over the James River, we saw chaos on the bridge. There were emergency vehicles surrounded by overturned cars and trucks. Later we heard that a few vehicles had been tossed into the river from the bridge because, just a couple of hours before, a tornado developed, crossed the bridge and created all the damage. In other words, it happened about the same time we would have been crossing that bridge with 50 teenagers. Sometimes the One who impedes our progress is God. In the book of Acts we are told:
“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)
Sometimes the good thing that we want to do isn’t what God wishes for us to do. Who knows what would’ve happened to Paul and Silas had they persisted and gone on into Asia? What would not have happened had they not gone into Macedonia? Either way we look at this, there could be far reaching ramifications. My point today is that, just because things don’t seem to be progressing the way that we would like them to, or just because it seems that we are being hindered from doing what we feel is the right thing to do, doesn’t mean that it’s the Adversary, necessarily. Sometimes it’s our Father in heaven looking out for us. You see, Father does know best.