And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. - Acts 16:6-10
The world is not always a kind place. It is filled with bitterness, hatred, and betrayal. Life is just not fair at times. At times like the last few days, it seems like there’s no way out of the situation I'm in. I pray and pray (day and night) asking God to open up the windows of opportunity for me, but what can I do when all the doors seems to be closed. I looked to God and the Bible for an answer. I found e beautiful passage above.
In the sixteenth chapter of Acts, Paul was on what many refer to as his second missionary journey. He and his companion Silas had traveled to Derbe and Lystra, where they were joined by Timothy. They then departed through Phrygia and Galatia. Luke says that while they were passing through this area they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word. When they came to Mysia, they wanted to turn to the northeast and take the gospel into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not allow them to go there either. While in the Mysian city of Troas, in a vision at night, Paul received the Macedonian Call.
“So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (Acts 16:8-10).
Determining that they had been called by God, they went to preach to the Macedonians. Paul was very successful on this journey. Several important and noteworthy churches were established; including churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth, and Ephesus.
There are times when we pray and ask God for things. “God bless me with a job; give me that promotion at work; help me to pay my bills and etc”. We ask God for a lot of things. Most often, I ask God to guide me on the path that he has chosen for me. However, we never ask God to open doors He wants to be open and shut doors He wants to be closed.
Today, I’m looking for a job, which I've been doing for the past seven years. My last teaching job was never, in my mind, meant to be permanent. Other jobs I've applied for, I have been turned down for time and time again. With this latest setback, the loss my very flimsy safety net, I realized that God has something better in store for me. My plans are not always His plans.
Sometimes the things we pray for aren’t the things God has in store for us. Oftentimes, we pray for little things when God wants to bless us with bigger things. Sometimes we pray for God to bless us with the wrong things. I had to encourage myself and tell myself: when one door closes, another one opens, just as many of you and many others have told me in the past few days.
You may be going through a situation right now feeling as though nothing is working out for your good. You might want to give up and throw the towel in. I know in the past two days, I have certainly felt that way at times. I am hopeful one minute, hopeless the next. My emotions have been a roller coaster. I want to encourage you today, as I have done my best to encourage myself, so not to give up.
When God closes one door He opens up another. It could be that God wants me to have or be somewhere else in life. Or that God simply has another route for me to go down. Sometimes we have to hear no in order to get to where God wants us to be. Sometimes door closes not because God is against us, but simply because it’s used as a tool to guide us where God wants us to be.
When you feel as though you want to lose hope; don’t! You want to give up; don’t do it. Know that God is with you. This has done more for me these past few days than you could imagine. God is guiding and ordering our footsteps. He has a specific path just for us to travel down but sometimes as children wondering we lose track and go down the wrong path. I'm not for sure that this job I lost was not the wrong track for the past five years, but it has gained me the experience I needed in education. Because of this, God put road blocks in the wrong paths to get us going down the right path.
I am encouraged and know that God has the key to open every door; change every situation and open new windows of opportunities. Sometimes, road blocks are there to lead us to the path Jesus would have us go. It may feel like your naked in a hallway of closed doors, but eventually, we will all come to an open one.
I am encouraged and know that God does everything for a reason; not for our downfall, but for our good and to His glory. The road blocks we face is simply God guiding us. Be encouraged in Jesus name knowing that when one door closes, another one opens. I want to leave you with the words to a song we will be singing in church tomorrow (I know this because I will be the song leader tomorrow, a job I do when our regular song leader is not there):
Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all the day long;
While there are others living about us,
Never molested, though in the wrong.
Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.
Sometimes I wonder why I must suffer,
Go in the rain, the cold, and the snow,
When there are many living in comfort,
Giving no heed to all I can do.
Tempted and tried, how often we question
Why we must suffer year after year,
Being accused by those of our loved ones,
E’en though we’ve walked in God’s holy fear.