It’s a common statement in Christian circles and it goes something like this, “Well, if God opens the door of opportunity for you, everything will go smoothly. Take for example my husband’s job offer out-of-state. In many ways, this seemed like an answer to prayer. We had been looking to relocate for a number of reasons including my health and different opportunities for our children. When this opportunity first presented itself I flat-out said no. The job was in Northern Wisconsin and I am by no means a fan of winter. We spent a lot of time discussing the matter and even turned down the initial offer, which my husband’s now boss refused to accept. As the situation progressed, the opportunity seemed even more enticing to my husband – some would even suggest that God had a hand in it.
Fast forward to the job acceptance and house sale. Many expected that our house would sell right away given the crazy circumstances of the job opportunity, the remodeling we had done on our home, the view, location, etc. Yet here the kids and I sit almost five months later. We have had numerous showings and more than a few second showings – and nothing. Does that mean that God is not for our move, that this is His way of closing a door? Of course not.
One only has to look at the life of Paul to know that, this is bad theology. Paul was called by God to preach the Good News of the gospel and yet here are a few things that he endured while following his path (please note this list does not include his times spent in jail):
Five times I received 39 lashes from Jews.
Three times I was beaten with rods by the Romans.
Once I was stoned by my enemies.
Three times I was shipwrecked.
I have spent a night and a day
in the open sea.
On frequent journeys, I faced
dangers from rivers,
dangers from robbers,
dangers from my own people,
dangers from the Gentiles,
dangers in the city,
dangers in the open country,
dangers on the sea,
and dangers among false brothers;
labor and hardship,
many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst,
often without food, cold, and lacking clothing.
Not to mention other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my care for all the churches.
2 Corinthians 11:24-28
By no means am I comparing my life to Paul’s persecution, but what I am saying is that we can follow the will of God and pray that we are taking His path and still face hardships. Whether it’s an opportunity or a calling,
Open Doors do not mean an unobstructed path.
So why the obstacles? The answers aren’t always clear in the present, but often times they are opportunities to grow our faith or refine us. So, if this speaks to you today, take a look within. What may God be trying to teach you? Do you need to relinquish some control and become more reliant on Him; or do you simply need to start by drawing nearer to Him? Is He teaching you about patience or endurance? Lastly, remember we cannot trust or rely upon a God we do not know well. Take time to speak with Him in prayer, visit Him in His word and truly meet with Him daily.
What experiences have you had with these types of life situations? Was your route a smooth one? If not, what obstacles did you face? What did you learn from the situation?
Until next time,
…because a wide door for effective ministry has opened for me – yet many oppose me.
1 Corinthians 16:9