As Paul pressed forward on his second missionary journey he ran into some obstacles. He “and his companions (were) kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia” (Acts 16:6).
This must have been somewhat confusing to him. Why would the Holy Spirit hinder him from spreading the Gospel there? Being committed to the Holy Spirit he knew he could do nothing worthwhile without His help. How the Spirit hindered him is not indicated. He wrote in Colossians 3:15: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
Dr. Edman, former president of Wheaton College, called this “the discipline of delay.” He wrote, “Paul came to know the patience of hindered purpose…The delay that instructs and prepares saves time, never loses it. From it one can walk with a step of assurance and a heart of flame.”
When the Holy Spirit hindered him from preaching in Asia and Mysia he accepted God’s schedule. His purpose was to reach people who’ve never heard the Gospel. He had to be patient during what seemed to him to be a hindered purpose. I’m sure he learned more about himself and about God during that experience.
With hindsight, years later, he saw that God ordained delays are not a waste of time, they save time. Later all these regions were reached by people who found Christ in the church of Ephesus, then went back to their cities and planted churches.
Are you experiencing the discipline of delay?