We love the God of “yes” and “right now”. But isn’t it the same all-knowing, all-powerful, loving and gracious God who also says “no” and “not now”?

Did you know the Holy Spirit not only opens doors, but honey, he closes doors. He redirects us down a different path for divine purposes we may not know or understand. Our role in this partnership is to seek, listen, and follow. His role is to align, guide, and direct.

I saw a great little video by a funny gal named Ellen demonstrating what our surrender to God really looks like. The title says, “Point of View: Letting Jesus Take the Wheel.” She was sitting in the passenger seat of her car, allowing Jesus to take over driving. Ahhh, this feels good Jesus, you drive. Then, it starts happening …. So, Jesus, it says 55, why we only going like 20? Let’s fo faster! Jesus, there’s the turn. Uhhhh wait, you missed it. So, like that’s where everyone else usually turns, don’t you want to go back? Then she says, “Okay, so I thought this was going to be more like you drive a little, then I drive a little, like we take turns, Jesus. Aren’t we gonna take turns now?”

Well isn’t that what we do … Jesus, you take the wheel when I don’t know what to do, but when I think I’ve got this, then let me drive. Let me set the pace. Let me turn when I want to turn. We’re good at letting Jesus take the wheel, but how are we with letting him keep the wheel?

Sometimes I feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit that says go. I love it when I get the green light. I’ve grown to love it when the Holy Spirit says, “This is what I want you to say, now say it.” Okay Jesus, I lovvveeee talking. Tell me all about what to say and I will talk all day! But sometimes the Holy Spirit tells me to shut my mouth. Sometimes the Holy Spirit says be still. Sometimes the Holy Spirit says I know you can do this, but I don’t want you to.

I don’t really like that.

The question becomes, will I let him keep the wheel when he slows my role or directs a turn I don’t want to take.

I naively assumed the Holy Spirit would co-sign all my good intentions. I believed all positive work would be Spirit approved and blessed with expedience. I was wrong. What Bible was I reading? Oh, the same one I’m reading now, just I’m reading between the lines of quoted feel good scriptures to see the deeper works of the Holy Spirit I had been missing. And my whole life is making a whole lot more sense now.

Paul and Silas were missionaries for God. Their intentions were good. Their works were positive. But when their positive works of intended good were met with a no from the Holy Spirit, we have to take notice.

Acts 15: 6-7, “They went through the region of Phyrgia and Galatia; they had been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. When they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bihynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.”

A little geography lesson. This area of Asia is our modern day Turkey. All of these town were the different regions of Turkey. Northern Turkey, Southern Turkey, Western Turkey. The Holy Spirit would not allow Paul and Silas to share the word of God here. It was a NO.

Sometimes a no from God doesn’t make sense. Why, God? Why wouldn’t you want your word shared here? Why wouldn’t you want these disciples of Jesus to share the good news to people who had never heard it?

I often find myself pleading my case with the Holy Spirit. I’m all whiny like, “But why, God? My heart is in the right place. It feels right. It’s what I want to do.” Then, I eventually start taking the wheel back into my own hands and doing what I want to do because God’s answer of no doesn’t make sense to me.

Sound familiar? Do you do it too? Ahhhhhh, you have some messes in your life right now as a result, don’t cha?

The Holy Spirit limited Paul and Silas for a very specific reason. We read it in the next 2 verses.

Acts 15: 8-9, “During the night Paul had a vision in which a Macedonian man was standing and pleading with him. ‘Cross over to Macedonia to help us.’ After we had seen the vision, Luke says, we immediately made efforts to set out for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”

Macedonia is in Northern Greece, and this is where God had a few divine appointments for them. In Greece, God’s spirit would work through them to save entire families through miraculous works and wonders.

When the Holy Spirit limited them in Turkey, it was a divine redirection to Greece.

Could your limitation be a divine redirection? It’s not here, but there … go there, my girl. God has work for you to do there. The Holy Spirit will flow through you for greater purposes there, but you won’t understand it if you stay here.

Does God have permission to redirect you? When he limits you, will you fight him, or will you look for the redirection? When he closes the door, will you beat the door down in frustration and self-will, or will you seek a vision for the open door he is directing you to?

All of this left me to wonder why God wouldn’t let Paul and Silas teach his word in Turkey. The purpose behind the limitation was to get them to move on to Macadonia in Greece then, but it wouldn’t always be a closed door in Turkey. Acts 18:21, Paul says to the people in Ephesus which is in Turkey, “I’ll come back to you again if God wills.”

He willingly left where he wanted to be, in obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. He left in faith. He left knowing this wouldn’t be the end if God so desired to bring him back.


Eventually, Paul travels back to Ephesus the ancient port city in Turkey and the doors are wide open for sharing and baptizing. In fact other people God had called had already started the work and Paul walked in and further helped them. And Acts 19:10 says, “All the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.”

Chapter 16, the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let them share the word and closed the door. Chapter 19, the Holy Spirit guides them back to the same exact place and all of Asia came to know of Jesus!

Just because the Holy Spirit shuts it down now doesn’t mean it will be shut down forever. Maybe this is a timing thing, and maybe it’s bigger than you know of now.

Will you give Jesus the wheel, and let him keep the wheel? Will you seek, listen and follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit when he says yes and when he says no? When he says right now and when he says not now?

May we grow to love the God of every answer and trust he sees it all, he knows it all, and he controls it all. And honey, he controls it way better than we ever could!

Jesus, I give you the wheel, and this time, I’m going to try real hard to let you keep the wheel.

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