***Update, 3/5/18: After reading this post again, I re-published it with modifications. I believe my choice of words depicted God in a way that was inconsistent with who He is, and I wish to apologize as this was not the intention. After carefully rewording my post, this is the finished result.***
Ever had this happen?
You’d been praying for weeks. You believed that God specifically placed something on your heart that He called you to pursue, and you followed that calling. You believed that He was opening doors and giving you signs that this was what you’re supposed to do.
Suddenly, you crashed into a door, and crumbled to the ground as a result. You sat up, rubbing your foreheads that had a lump the size of a softball appear, asking “where did I go wrong?”
I’ve had that happen before, and I can guarantee I’m not the only Christian that has experienced this. It could look different for everyone. For you, maybe it was:
- When you believed God wanted you to say/do something to help someone, only to find that you received negative feedback.
- When you believed God was giving you the “thumbs up” to enter that relationship you prayed about, but it only ended in heartbreak and tears.
- When you believed God aligned everything perfectly to land that new job, but suddenly the position was filled by someone else.
- When you believed God had called you to begin that task, but you were faced with opposition that led to the end of the project.
Perhaps it was something else. Regardless, we find ourselves frustrated when these situations occur. We ask, “God, why did you close that door?”
When we run into doors, it’s our fault. Although we may not admit it to ourselves or believe it, to some extent, we have a desired outcome that we wish to achieve, and we convince ourselves that God has worked everything out to achieve that outcome. And when we run into those doors that God had never opened in the first place, it hurts.
And no, God is not a cartoon character in Tom and Jerry or Looney Tunes that is waiting for the perfect opportunity to slam a door closed in our face.
When God closes a door, He has a reason why. The injuries result from when we ignore God and try to walk through the door anyways.
What do we do in these instances when we’re tempted to open that door anyways?
During these times, we need to stop. If God closed a door, we need to make sure we don’t try to open it. After that, we continue to follow faithfully in what He did call us to do in the moment until He directs us elsewhere.
Months, even years, later, I would look back at these types of situations in awe. God had orchestrated situations that initially seemed bleak into something utterly beautiful, and everything that had occurred now made sense.
God sometimes allows us to see glimpses of His plans for us in the present; but more often than not, we don’t see how these things work out until way in the future. I once had a youth pastor that said the following, and I couldn’t agree more with him: “God doesn’t give us the gift of foresight, but He allows us to have hindsight.”
If we had foresight, we would be playing god in our own lives, and we wouldn’t have a desire or need for our Savior. When we enter a relationship with Him, He asks us to step out in faith and trust Him — even when things don’t make sense.
Proverbs 19:21 rings true during these times: “many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Undoubtedly, there will be situations when God closes doors, and we will never know why during this lifetime. Only God will.
But has He not already proven His trustworthiness and goodness? That even if we don’t understand or know His plan, that He is worth trusting? “For we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).” Although God does allow us to have hindsight, our faith is not in that.
Our faith grows when we step out in complete obedience to God’s will, and it’s rewarding when He allows us to have the hindsight to see how He orchestrated His plan.
Our faith is found in His promises and who He is, even when God says “no.” And in those situations, we can have hope that His plan is better than anything we could ever imagine.
The Dinner Party Challenge: Update
Last week, I introduced everyone to The Dinner Party challenge, which you can read about here.
If you’d like to participant in this, I’d love to hear from you! Comment below to share who you’ll be studying.
If you’ve already started this journey, I hope it’s going well for you! I also want to present you with an opportunity. On March 27th, I’m going to be sharing what I learned during this time, and I’d love to feature what you’ve learned in the blog post as well!
Just head over to my Contact page, and with a brief description for each person, tell me who you “invited” to dinner and what you’ve learned about them from spending more time reading the Bible. If you want to be included in the post, but don’t want your name shared, just make a note that you wish to remain anonymous.
Anonymous: a word that leaves me feeling like Nemo half the time I attempt to say it.