Friday, February 8, 2013

Doors

"These things saith he that is holy,
he that is true, 
he that hath the key of David, 
he that openeth, and no man shutteth; 
and shutteth, and no man openeth;
I know thy works: behold, 
I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it..."
Revelation 3:7
(KJV)


Have you ever stood outside a door that God has firmly closed?
Pleading with Him to open it?
Thinking you know exactly what is behind that door?
Not understanding why God doesn't turn the knob...
and allow you to walk through?

Throughout life, I have, at times, wasted precious time and energy,
knocking on closed doors.


Surmising what was behind them.
Thinking I knew best.
Vainly imagining pleasant paths of peace.
Chasing dreams.
Believing if I pounded hard enough,
the doors would come open
and reveal what I thought was best for me.

God has often said "no".
The doors did not open.
Not even an inch.
I stood there...outside the closed door....
puzzled,
bewildered,
confused.
Screaming, "God, I want to do this.
This could bring you glory.
I could work for You...in this way.
Why won't you open the door?
Why can't I do this?"

I was most often met with resounding, deafening silence.
More times than not,
I was never told why.
Never shown what was behind that coveted door.
There was no explanation...at all.
Just a tightly closed, unmovable door...
staring me square in the face.
Filling my mind with innumerable, unanswered questions.
I have turned to walk away,
head hung low,
dream-of-being-used-by-God-in-that-way completely crushed.
Puzzle unsolved.

But, a few of those times,
down the road a piece,
God has removed the veil.
He has allowed me to look back...
in retrospect...
and re-visit the spot of that closed door.
He has allowed me to see through it....
beyond it....
to show me a glimpse of what was really on the other side...
on the road He didn't allow me to take.
As He peeled back the curtain,
and allowed me to take a quick peek,
I realized.
Oh, I realized!
That my lofty, glamorous visions of a perfect path...
behind that tightly-closed door....
were so far removed from reality and truth.
That the total opposite had awaited me...
behind that closed door.
That what was actually there...
was utter disaster.
Nothing at all like I pictured.
A rocky path, filled with briers, thorns, uneven ground....and remorse.
What I thought simply had to be God's perfect will,
was actually an injurious trap....
that would have ruined my life...
in the most devastating of ways.

I have learned to appreciate....
from the bottom of my heart....
closed doors.
Because I have learned that God,
in His infinite wisdom,
loves me too much to allow me to have my own way...
when He sees that my way is wrong.
He knows how much I want to please Him.
He sees my inmost desire to follow Him.
He knows that I mean well.
That my intentions are noble.
But, He also sees that I am so unwise.
So unable to see...what is one step in front of me.

God knows where you...and I...
can be best used in His Kingdom.
He knows us inside out.
Sees the quirks in each of our make-ups.
Takes into consideration all of our hang-ups,
assets, skills, and talents.
He knows where we can best function and thrive
and bring the most glory to Him.

So, He directs our paths accordingly.


He opens to us the door that leads
 to the most effectual path of ministry...
for each of us...
individually.

In I Corinthians 16:9, we read these words of the Apostle Paul,
"For I will not see you now by the way; 
but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit.  
But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.  
For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, 
and there are many adversaries."

A great and effectual door...opened unto us.
Isn't that what we all need?
In order to accomplish anything worthwhile for God?
Otherwise, we spin our wheels.
We dig ruts.
We labor in vain.
When we try to function outside of the realm of God's will,
it simply does not work.
Our efforts bring forth no fruit.
To stay there and continue to hope for success
is a frustrating and futile endeavor.
To continue to remain outside a door God has closed,
pounding and pleading for Him to open it...against His will....
is a vain and futile misuse of precious time and energy.

Paul was in tune with God's will for his life.
He realized that he would be successful only if he walked 
through an effectual door...
a door that God had opened to him.
Though he longed to be in Corinth,
he realized that leaving Ephesus prematurely 
would be unwise.
God was working through him there.
There were honest souls there
with open hearts and teachable spirits.
To walk away from the center of God's will
simply because he longed to be elsewhere,
was not something Paul was willing to take the risk to do.
Too much was riding on his obedience.
At that moment in time, 
his place of effectiveness...
the place he would accomplish most for God...
was Ephesus.
So, he stayed.
Until God said, "Go".

There were other times Paul thought he knew best.
There were times he wanted to walk through a door
other than the one God had opened for him.
He had a desire to go to Asia...
not for selfish reasons,
but to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
God said "no".
"Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, 
and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia..."
Acts 16:6
He thought of going to Bithynia,
but the Holy Spirit directed otherwise.
"After they were come to Mysia, 
they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not."
Acts 16:7

How often we think we know best!
We feel that if we are doing God's service,
we can't be wrong.
We plan our own path,
and we chart our own course.
Without seeking His face first.
Without finding that effectual door...
that area of ministry into which He has called us
where we will be most effective and productive.

God has to set before us an open, effectual door...
before you and I can achieve anything....
at all.


It is up to Him to open and close the right doors....
all in His perfect timing.
When He sees that it is time to make a change,
He will begin to show us that our labor is no longer taking effect.
He starts closing the door.
Gently nudging us.
To continue to pour our efforts into trying to force upon
a door that God has closed...
or is in the process of closing...
is a complete waste of our time and energy.
Because when God decides to close a door,
no man alive can open it.
No matter how much pounding we do,
how much of ourselves we pour into making it budge...
even just a little bit....
the door is closed.
Tightly.
Impenetrable.
Unmovable.
Impossible to turn...
on its hinges.

Doors lead to scenarios.
Some scenarios are a part of God's will for us.
Some are not.
Only He knows what is best.
Only He sees behind closed doors.
It is in our best interest to pray for His will to be done.

I have learned to come to a place of complete consecration.
To pray, from the depths of my heart,
 that God will close and keep closed all wrong doors...
no matter what I think is best.
I have learned to plead with Him to open only the door that is right for us.
Because, I have learned that things aren't always what they seem.
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man,
but the end thereof are the ways of death."
Proverbs 14:12

Sometimes paths of destruction lie behind the most beautiful doors.

It is best to submit.
To come to the place Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane.
To pray clear through.
To say from the depths of our heart,
"Not my will, but Thy will be done, Father.
Even though I don't understand.
Even though this other door looks so much better to me.
I trust Your wisdom, Lord.
I know you have my best interests at heart,
therefore I will walk through the open door You have set before me.
Even though it looks difficult...and mysterious....and unknown.
I will follow You, Jesus.
I will fight You no longer.
I will stop pounding on all of the closed doors.
I will stop trying to push against Your divine will.
I will not fight when You begin closing a door.
Thank You for loving me enough to say no.
Thank You for closing doors to paths that would destroy me.
I consecrate my life...
my future...
my path...
to You, and Your wisdom."

When it is God's will, the door is open...
wide.
It is a plain path.
It is what is best....for us.


Are you standing outside a closed door?
Have you pounded with all your might,
pleading with God all the while,
to open that door?
Has His continual answer to you been a repeated "no"?
Maybe He sees something...
beyond that door...
that would devastate your life.
He isn't ignoring your pleas.
He hears you.
He loves you too much to always give you what you want.
Because sometimes what you want is not good for you.
Sometimes what you want would ultimately bring the undoing of your happiness.
Sometimes what you want would destroy you.

Maybe God has opened another door.
An effectual door.
One that is right in front of you,
but you haven't yet noticed.
Perhaps you are so intent upon the closed door,
that you have overlooked the one standing wide open.

We have preconceived notions...
about life...
about our calling....
about what God wants us to do
and where He wants us to do it.

God has a perfect plan...
for your life.
A life's work to which you are best suited.
He sees deeply buried potential.
He loves you too much to let you waste it.
Hence, one of His many reasons for closing doors...
and opening others.

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:9


If we only knew...
if we only saw...
what He sees.
The thoughts He is really thinking.
We would praise Him all the more...
for the gift of closed doors.

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