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Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.
Note 9 at 1Th 2:18: This is an amazing passage of Scripture. Many people don't think Satan has the power to hinder anything if an individual is in the center of God's will, as Paul was. They mistakenly think that everything going smoothly is a token of God's direction (see note 3 at 1Co 16:9). Any problems believers encounter must mean they missed God. That is not what Paul was describing here.
Satan has severe limitations, and he cannot just devour people (1Pe 5:8). But there are certain things he can do to even those who are operating in the power of the Holy Spirit. The greatest way he can hinder believers is when what they are believing for involves other people.
For instance, our financial prosperity involves others. People can't stop us from prospering, but they can certainly hinder us. And in the area of persecution, God will not just "wipe out" all those who oppose us so that we can preach the Gospel without any hindrance. He loves even those who reject Him. God's mercy toward those who persecute us may cause us some hardships, but it allows the unbelievers the opportunity to receive salvation (see note 14 at 2Co 12:7).
Paul made a similar statement to this one in Ro 15:22-23. In that passage, he explained that the hindrance to his traveling to Rome was that there were unreached people around him that he felt compelled to preach to before he could leave them. It is most probable that he was describing the same thing here. He wanted to return to Thessalonica; but Satan was hindering the preaching of the Gospel, so it was taking Paul longer than he anticipated to finish his work there.