When God Closes A Door

Image courtesy of Pixteller.com

He proposed.

Not to me. But to her. The man I’ve been praying for for years is now someone else’s.

Can you relate? Is that a familiar song in your life? Perhaps you’ve been praying for someone you’d thought would make a good life partner. You thought the door was wide open, or even slightly ajar, only for it to be slammed shut. Or perhaps it’s a job or opportunity that you’ve been lifting up to God these past few months, or years.

We cannot twist God’s arm or bend Him to our will. But here are three lessons I’m learning from it.

1. It is God’s purpose.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

I don’t see what God is doing behind the scenes. He brought this man into my life for a purpose. I can kick and wrestle, reasoning that God wouldn’t bring Him in if not to be my future spouse. But there are a thousand and one reasons for God to do so. I can only see within a finite and limited frame, but God sees all things. He can see ten, fifteen, twenty years from now and know what’s best for me.

When I met this man, I wasn’t a follower yet. I wanted to take my walk with Jesus seriously because I was following his example. I thought, this is the kind of woman he would be looking for. Indeed, but it’s not me. Nevertheless, God gripped me with an unsatiable thirst for Him, with or without this man. God used him to bring me closer to Him. And that is ten thousand better a reason than any temporal earthly relationship.

2. It is God’s protection.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? (Luke 11:11)

God hears my prayers. Or my rather lengthy list for a future spouse. This man, though on the outside is seemingly the perfect fit for me, may not be the best that God has in mind. God is the ultimate matchmaker. He’s not just thinking of what will give me joy now, but in the years to come as well. So much Kingdom time is lost on poorly made matches, says Gary Thomas in Sacred Search. In this case, God was sparing me.

The same is true for that dream job or perfect house or other closed doors. God knows us and our circumstances better than we know it. That glamorous job may be too stressful for you or it’s not really a good match of your skills and interests. Perhaps that rainbow-bright, white picket house may have a hidden leak or faulty foundation that years down the road would be a massive headache for you. We may not see how God is protecting us. But we can trust that He is.

3. It is God’s hope.

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? (Romans 8:24)

We are counting down the last few good single Christian men. Or are we? On one hand, I could, fist-in-air cry out, Lord, another one out the window! On the other, I could take it in stride and see that there are still men like him around. They are out there. I just need to be patient and wait.

There is hope. If not this one, then surely God is brewing something or someone out of the corner of heaven. He is raising up someone. He will speak that job into existence. Let’s not believe the lie that God is incapable of doing something right this very moment. Because He is. God wants that person to be a part of our life more than we do. Or for us to walk into His plan more than we seek for it. God is still in the business of answering our prayers.

But behind all this, there is one door that will never close for us. And that is Jesus. Through Him we have already gained everything. Let us continue to look to Him as our only source of purpose, protection and lasting hope.

 

 

 

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Guardrails

The first time I heard this I was sitting in Hengshan church in Shanghai. They were announcing the new series by Andy Stanley. I never got through the series. I left Shanghai before it started and I never bothered to hear it online (you can check it out here).

But just now I was given a new guardrail – a curfew at night when driving by myself.

A part of me thought, I’m 29 years old. I’m perfectly capable of driving alone at night. Thankyouverymuch. Though a part of me knew that I needed to obey this. I live by myself in the province and no one waits up on me at night. What if I don’t come home? What if something happens to me? Maybe it’ll take days before my body is discovered in an isolated grassland somewhere south of the city.

My dad has never given us a curfew back in Manila. The rule is, as long as I come home. And there have been many times when I’ve decided to ignore this rule. Not that he waits up on us. I doubt that anyone even noticed.

But now I know better. I know I need this guardrail to protect me. Coming home late last Saturday, I was already feeling sleepy while driving and I believe my judgment was a bit compromised. I took a left turn too soon and the incoming car was speeding fast. I escaped grazing him by probably just a split second. I felt terrible afterwards. He’s probably cursing me every inch of the way til he got home. Way to go to bless someone, right?

God has placed plenty of guardrails in my life, whether I’m aware of them or not. It could be as simple as the shows I watch or as big as placing me in a city miles away from my family. It’s for my own protection. For my own good. Because He loves me.

And though I wanted to react at first, Huwaat?! 10pm?! That’s crazy early!! I paced myself for awhile. What’s so wrong with 10? I’m an introvert anyway. It’s the perfect excuse to slip out from a crowd. And besides, God would want me to obey him cheerfully.

So here we go. Any guardrails God is placing around you?

And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Corinthians 5:15