Seeing Closed Doors As God’s Grace

“When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.” (Acts 16:7)

So, I’m at an interesting time in my life. As all of us do who are older, I imagined that when I got around 60 years old, my life would be settled and routine. But I’m starting to think that view of growing older is misguided. God has been gracious to allow me to serve Him in a variety of ways, from being a teacher and professor, to being an elder, to being a missionary. It’s been a full life for sure! And I guess I imagined just continuing in all of those things, though truth be told, there was a time just a few years ago when I was having a hard time fitting it all in. Then seemingly overnight everything changed. Doors started closing, and they didn’t stop closing for over a year. It was all very unnerving! Things I thought I would be doing for the rest of my working life just stopped and my ministry river slowed to a stream. Unfortunately, many of us find our worth and esteem in the ministry we do and the ability to keep the plates spinning and the balls up in the air, like some sort of circus performer. That’s kind of sad when you think about it, not only because it’s not biblical, but because when the plates stop spinning, we actually begin to question who we are.

But after a lengthy season of doors closing, as with the apostles in the verse above, I’m beginning to see this as a move of the Spirit in my life. What I’m left with is significant and it would be wrong to try to minimize it. Rather than be involved with ministry a mile wide and an inch deep, I now have the opportunity to make a strong leadership impact in one area while also speaking deeply into young believers’ lives. That’s no small potatoes! Still, the challenge remains of not getting my feelings hurt about the other areas. I’m not going to lie, it feels like rejection. Honestly, I can count on one hand how many times in my life a door of opportunity has slammed shut – it’s just not something I’m used to and there’s nothing enjoyable about it. Yet, as Revelation says, Jesus is the one who closes doors no one can open. I don’t want to be the fool who tries to open the unopenable, just to satisfy my own ego. So I’m becoming ok with seeing closed doors as God’s grace. I mean, after all, it allows me to be more focused and it gives me a much more manageable workload. So, who am I to worry or complain (though, of course, I still do)?

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1 Comment

  1. kandacenoelle

    Oh Paul. I just love you, brother. It’s been a bit of a “rough patch” the last few years, huh? Man, do we get it! Similar lessons, thoughts, breakthroughs, struggles over here on our side too. I hope you don’t feel lonely in your boat, because we’re right there with you :). Cheering you on through every open door, and patting your back at every closed one. Hugs!

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