Summary: A sermon about discerning God's will and then making the decision to follow.
“God Will Lead Us”
Have you ever had the experience where you have gotten to a certain point in your faith journey and been able to look back and see God was leading all along the way?
If you have had this experience, perhaps you have been able to recall times when you tried to go in one direction, but the doors were closed to you.
And these “closed doors” ended up leading you down certain paths to the place where you finally heard God’s call and found yourself involved in what you were convinced was God’s good will?
Now, at the time you came across these closed doors or obstacles which denied you access to where you had originally wanted to go—you may have been frustrated or even heartbroken, shattered or at the end of your rope.
But later, as you look back on these “closed doors” you see God’s Spirit was at work, guiding you into the right direction, keeping you from harm, wasted time or a wasted life—and you give thanks!
I think that is one thing that was going on in our Scripture Lesson for this morning.
Paul and his friends were on a missionary journey and they started hitting roadblocks.
They wanted to go to the province of Asia, but the doors were closed, and the same thing kept happening again and again—until Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
That was all the clue they needed.
We are told that they “got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called [them] to preach the Gospel” there.
The Holy Spirit had prevented them from carrying out their previous plans—the plans they had their hearts set on.
Instead, the Spirit sent them on a detour, God’s detour.
You may feel like you are experiencing something like that right now.
Perhaps you had a plan.
You had your heart set on how your life should be at this moment.
But it didn’t turn out that way.
Maybe your health is not what you would like it to be.
Perhaps you are yearning for a relationship in your life, because one ended too soon or it never happened the way you wanted it to happen.
Maybe you wanted children so badly, but you haven’t been able to have kids—and now you feel grief and pain.
Or you might be struggling to find work.
You may feel disappointed with the struggle each day brings.
Or, perhaps, you thought your life would have turned out much differently than it is today.
It can be frustrating and confusing, can’t it?
But one thing our Scripture passage for this morning is telling us is that God cares for us more than we can know.
God cares very deeply about our lives.
He’s not ignoring you.
He didn’t forget about you.
His Word shows us over and over again that He is faithful to His promises.
As a matter of fact, God is so faithful, so caring, so involved that God often puts up obstacles to our plans because those plans would ultimately ruin our lives.
I have a friend who, as a young man, had two interests.
One was rock music and wanting to be a “rock star.”
The other was God and a calling to be totally committed to God in life and ministry.
My friend picked rock and roll and becoming a rock star.
And so, off he went.
He was attracted to rock by his love for the music and the promise of a life of debauchery.
Eventually, he came to the conclusion that the rock star track was not going to work out for him.
Doors were closed.
There were barriers at every turn.
And so, he walked away from it—with his tail between his legs, his heart broken and his pride shattered.
But, at the same time, something else had been happening.
He’d been having these late-night conversations with a friend—and these conversations were all centered around God.
And as he had these conversations, new revelations and visions of God’s call became clear to him in ways he’d never experienced before.
So, by the time he walked away from his rock and roll dreams, he was prepared to walk right into God’s detour—God’s plan for his life.
He gave his life to Christ and never looked back.
Things like that happen all the time.
We think we want one thing, and, perhaps—in our flesh we really do—but God knows what is best for us.
And if we are open to His Holy Spirit working in our lives, we will receive God’s vision, God’s direction and God will lead us to where we are supposed to go—the key is, will we follow?