Wednesday, May 3, 2017

When God Closes a Door

Acts 16:6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

I’ve heard a million times, When God closes one door, he opens another.. and I’m sure you have too. Although that saying is not specifically in the Bible, this and other stories describe this exact statement, that closed doors to God are redirections.

In Acts 16: 6, Paul was traveling to preach the gospel. This was a very long journey, approximately 400 miles by foot. They stopped again and again, only to be redirected by the Holy Spirit that they were not supposed to preach in that area.

Closed doors in the world seem like an end. They seem like something that we cannot overcome. Closed doors can make us feel overwhelmed and discouraged, like we have failed and can’t move forward. The world looks at closed doors and sees missed opportunities, wasted time and a misdirected path.

Thankfully, we don’t serve the world... we serve someone who sees the whole picture. My husband uses a beautiful illustration that if you stretched a sheet of paper across an entire pulpit and poked a hole in it the size of a pin head, you would only begin to see the scope of eternity. When we look at our lives, we are seeing only the tiny hole in the paper, yet God sees the entire sheet. The world now is but a blink, the tiniest shimmer in the scope of eternity. God’s closed doors aren’t dead ends, they are simply redirections. After Paul’s two closed doors, he saw a vision of a man asking for help in Macedonia. Those two closed doors before led to the gospel being brought for the first time to the European nation. Talk about a blessing from a closed door!

What if Paul would have become discouraged? What if he would have been disobedient and stayed in the places where he may be believed he was to preach the gospel? If he would have pushed in and done his will there rather than going and allowing God to move? The course of history would have changed… however; they did not see the closed doors as an end, but just Gods nudging them in a different direction.

I have found that the life of ministry is full of seemingly closed doors and dead ends. We always seem to be the ones leaving, moving forward. Some of our ministry positions have been treated as such, with the people assuming that we are simply ‘passing by’ rather than settling in. We have church families, and we leave them behind as we are redirected to another path. It’s easy to see the life of ministry as a series of doors, closed in our faces.

Can I encourage you today to stop seeing closed doors as dead ends and rather see them in the light of redirection? God has chosen you, and he is using you. If he is allowed to direct your path, you will live a life in the center of His will, which is a beautiful place to be.

Prepare your hearts for those closed doors, and look past them to the others that will be opened. Always remember, we must not be worldly minded, we must be Kingdom minded, for we are not of this world.

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