Read Acts 16:6-10
6-9 They made their way through Phrygia and Galatia, but the Holy Spirit prevented them from speaking God’s message in Asia. When they came to Mysia they tried to enter Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them. So they passed by Mysia and came down to Troas, where one night Paul had a vision of a Macedonian man standing and appealing to him in the words: “Come over to Macedonia and help us!”
10 As soon as Paul had seen this vision we made every effort to get on to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to give them the good news. (JBP)
Many of us have had the experience of planning to do a certain thing and then finding that our plans are thwarted. In Christian work it can be even more puzzling. We think we have figured out what God is wanting us to do and then find doors slammed in our faces.
This might be what was happening to Paul and his colleagues. They were travelling through modern-day Turkey and all the places they intended to visit were denied them. Who knows whether that was God working through circumstances or through some sense impression? In any case, their well-made plans came to nothing.
But God knew what he was doing even if they did not. Since they couldn’t visit the places they had planned, they kept on going till they hit the coast. It was there that God revealed in a vision the plans he had for them. It meant sailing across to Macedonia, Northern Greece, to help Christians there. It ended up being a profitable ministry.
We can assume there would have been profitable ministry in those places that figured in their original plans. But God had other plans. Closed doors are not the full story. They can frustrate us but can so often lead us to open doors.