Welcoming Closed Doors
We’ve all faced one. Expecting our desired result, we’ve grasped the handle of the highly anticipated door to our dreams and turned it. Expecting we’d hear the click of release, yet the latch stayed silent and we bumped against an unyielding door.
The closed door. Barring us from personal desires while our shoulder’s thud failed to assist. The moment invites a choice with deep results. Such disappointment can drive a wedge where one doesn’t belong.
“Then the LORD closed the door behind Noah.” (Genesis 7:16b ERV)
It’s easy to miss this miracle. When documenting the history of Noah’s life, Moses wrote something incredible. The LORD, not Noah, closed the door on the ark. Another version says He “sealed them inside.” Once all occupants were safely aboard, God closed the door. His main purpose was protection. He separated the inside from the outside and alone knew the extent of the volume of water that was coming, along with its duration. He knew the behavior of animals stampeding in fear and the curiosity of humankind when bored. Had God not passionately loved the contents of that ship, He’d have never closed the door Himself. It is a blessing to be locked in by our Heavenly Father.
But what of our desires to go somewhere or do something admirable in our lifetime? We all experience these longings as they’re intentionally placed within us. We’ve been given purpose along with chosen, innate gifts to successfully accomplish our goals. Like everything in life, focus is paramount so valuable energy isn’t wasted in the wrong direction. For you are the only one who can finish the work assigned you, therefore, it must be protected. Watch how He works.
“Paul and his friends went through Phrygia and Galatia, but the Holy Spirit would not let them preach in Asia. After they arrived in Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not let them.” (Acts 16:6-7 CEV)
Given Paul and his fellow missionaries had no access to mapping services of where to share the Gospel, they were completely dependent on the Holy Spirit’s leading. Like us, they had specific callings that were orchestrated by The Almighty. He knew when and where to send His disciples so they’d be most effective, and guided them twice using closed doors. Allowing Paul to wander haphazardly would miss waiting hearts and opportunities. Earth’s evangelization carries a divine itinerary. It is a blessing to be locked out by our Heavenly Father.
Likewise, our lives and their mission are precious in the Lord’s sight. We’re needed exactly in the position He’s created for us. Other people have tried to unlock the door only we can and He’s wisely held it closed. The gifts and personalities He’s thoughtfully woven into us are designed for us alone. No one else is qualified to do what we’ve been born to do and therefore He jealously guards our spot in life.
We all carry purpose at infinitesimal levels. While we were being knitted together in our mother’s womb, God chose the specific threads He wanted represented in our lives. He delights in both our structured discovery and the unwrapping of His multiple gifts over our lifetime; which frequently includes unexpected but deeply satisfying changes within our decades.
I’m grateful my Shepherd hasn’t allowed someone else through a door meant solely for me. Because He’s not trying to stifle my dreams; just fulfill my heart’s desire with their completion.
Remember, Christ identifies Himself as the Door. So whether He closes you in or closes you out—it’s the perfect time to praise Him.
Genesis 1:3-4 3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
In the beginning God… and the Spirit of God… and God said (the Word of God). Right in the first three verses we have God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Son. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. We can understand the eternal Godhead by what we see in creation. Wherever the light goes, the darkness flees. God has always had an illustration of those which are His, separated from the darkness. Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. The Scriptures call us children of the light, of the day and not of the night. Those who love truth come to the light. They come so that the darkness in them will flee and every space will be filled with light. Is every area of your life open to the Light? Do you readily come to the Light to be sure that there is no darkness in you? Allow the Lord access to every area of your life so that you may be full of light.
We are in the world but not of the world. If we are filled with light, we should be causing the darkness around us to flee, not being overcome by the darkness. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21 KJV)
According to What They Can Endure – Streams in the Desert – January 3
I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure (Genesis 33:14).
What a beautiful picture of Jacob’s thoughtfulness for the cattle and the children! He would not allow them to be overdriven even for one day. He would not lead on according to what a strong man like Esau could do and expected them to do, but only according to what they were able to endure. He knew exactly how far they could go in a day; and he made that his only consideration in arranging the marches. He had gone the same wilderness journey years before, and knew all about its roughness and heat and length, by personal experience. And so he said, “I will lead on softly.” “For ye have not passed this way heretofore” (Josh.3:4.).
We have not passed this way heretofore, but the Lord Jesus has. It is all untrodden and unknown ground to us, but He knows it all by personal experience. The steep bits that take away our breath, the stony bits that make our feet ache so, the hot shadeless stretches that make us feel so exhausted, the rushing rivers that we have to pass through — Jesus has gone through it all before us. “He was wearied with his journey.” Not some, but all the many waters went over Him, and yet did not quench His love. He was made a perfect Leader by the things which He suffered. “He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Think of that when you are tempted to question the gentleness of His leading. He is remembering all the time; and not one step will He make you take beyond what your foot is able to endure. Never mind if you think it will not be able for the step that seems to come next; either He will so strengthen it that it shall be able, or He will call a sudden halt, and you shall not have to take it at all.
–Frances Ridley Havergal
Being a Neighbor
Scripture Reading — Luke 10:29-37
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” — Luke 10:36
There are two stories in this Bible passage: the parable about the man beaten by robbers, and the story about Jesus and the expert in the law. The main question from the legal expert was “Who is my neighbor?” And the main question from Jesus was “In this story, who was being a neighbor?”
Without saying it was the Samaritan, the legal expert admitted that the neighbor was the one who showed mercy. The Samaritan showed mercy to the beaten man in at least three ways:
He opened his heart. “When he saw him, he took pity on him.” The traveler saw a fellow human in need, and he cared. The injured man’s life mattered.
He opened his schedule. “He went to him and bandaged his wounds. . . .” He set aside his own plans to help his neighbor, to the point of getting blood on his hands.
He opened his wallet. Bringing the injured man to a safe place, the Samaritan paid for his care and even said he would pay later for additional care that might be needed.
Of course, in this story the priest and the Levite did not look good. They knew what to do, and they failed to act. We need to admit that there is some part of the “priest and Levite” in most of us. How often do we see people in need and conveniently look the other way?