We are not clearly told the answers to these questions in the Scriptures. However, there are still lessons to be learned from Paul’s experience. We read in Acts 16:6-10, “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.”

These verses occurred during Paul’s second missionary journey. We do not read if the Lord revealed to Paul why the Holy Spirit did not permit him to preach the Word in Asia. However, we do well to follow the Apostle Paul’s example of following the leading of the Holy Spirit and not complaining about being stopped from doing what he thought was a good idea. We are often not told why the Lord hinders things from happening that we think are best such as in connection with our education, jobs, or relationships. However, we can trust that He knows what He is doing and that He has our best in mind. We read in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Our loving God sees the big picture and has a wonderful plan for our lives. We read in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

We must not think that the Holy Spirit did not want the people of Asia to hear the gospel and be saved. Rather, we must think of it as it being the Lord’s will at this time for Paul to preach the gospel to the people of Macedonia. There are multiple verses that show that the Lord did not forget the people of Asia. During Paul’s third missionary journey he came to Ephesus. Acts 19:8-10 speaks of Paul and says, “And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.”

We read that the Apostle Peter also ministered to those in Asia. 1 Peter 1:1-2 says, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” Verse 2 reveals that there were those in Asia who had gotten saved! Praise the Lord for His work in their hearts! It is difficult when we are denied admission to a university, do not get a job that we want, lose a job, or feel the sting of rejection in a relationship. However, God really does have a plan that is much better than the one that we think is best. We read in Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’” (NASB).  (386.5)  (DJ)