Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.
Many years ago, my husband and I were candidates at a church that we truly wanted to be the Lord’s will for us. We were SO excited! When we got there, the people of the church were just precious…but we had absolutely no peace. We didn’t want to tell each other because we truly thought it was the Lord’s will for us to go there. We were supposed to stay for two weeks, the first week as a couple and the second week our children would join us. Long story short, we eventually talked and admitted to each other feeling the lack of peace. After a good cry, we cut our visit way short and went home to seek the Lord’s will again. It was tough but now we see God’s hand through it all.
If you look at a Bible map, you can see where Paul, Silas and Timothy were in Derbe, Lystra, and Iconium. It was kind of a Tri-City area. From there they went to Phrygia and then Galatia, but the Holy Spirit would not let them into Asia. They kept going through Mysia and wanted to go into Mithynia, but again the Spirit would not let them. Eventually, they ended up in Troas hundreds of miles away and there Paul had a vision: a Macedonian man called to him saying “Come over into Macedonia and help us.”
Paul and company, following the direction of the Lord, immediately made plans to travel to Macedonia and set sail from Troas to the island Samothracia and the next day sailed to Neapolis. (Note: the narrative goes from third person to first person in verse 10 and many scholars believe that Luke, who wrote the book of Acts, joined the traveling trio.) They then traveled to Philippi, which was the chief city (scholars debate on this since many consider Amphipolis the “chief city” instead), and it also was a Roman colony (the whole region was conquered by Rome and the transplanted Romans named Philippi their home), therefore they didn’t have to pay the taxes. Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke finally found the Lord’s location for their next assignment.
We can make all the plans that we want to, but unless the Lord is directing our ways, our efforts are in vain. If Paul went north like he wanted, the gospel might not have come to Europe for a long time. Scholars debate how Paul was directed: Was it direct revelation? Was it circumstances? Was it people problems? Was it feeling? We can ask Paul when we get to heaven, we just know that the Spirit prohibited them from going and Paul obeyed and didn’t get upset at the change of plans.
How is the Spirit leading in your life? Are you in the will of God or are you upset that life didn’t quite work out like you thought? I’ve asked that question many times. I have never met someone who admitted that life turned out like they thought it would. I have, however, met people who let God lead and their life turned out “more abundant that they could ask or think” and those who fought God’s leading and are miserable as they are out of God’s perfect will for them. The amazing thing is that it only takes a change of heart to get back into God’s path! He is calling and just waiting for you to follow. The trials and testings of life are just God’s way of leading and making us stronger to do what He would have for us. Paul, Silas and Timothy endured through unsure times…can you?
Written by Kaye Dee Richards. Kaye Dee lives with her husband Colin in Morrison, CO. They have 4 children, Joshua, Amelia, Victoria, and Julia.
To contact Kaye Dee, leave a comment, message us on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.