One of my favorite devotional books is Streams in the Desert. Originally copyrighted in 1925, it is more powerful today than ever before. The January 10th devotion is especially meaningful as we embark on a new year. Focusing on the multiple times the apostle Paul was divinely prohibited from taking one course or another in his ministry, the author applies the lesson to his readers’ lives and writes, “Beloved, whenever you are doubtful as to your course, submit your judgment absolutely to the Spirit of God, and ask Him to shut against you every door but the right one.”
Too often, I’m tempted to grab a crowbar when God shuts a door. Surely the door is just stuck. Surely I am entitled to what is behind the door. Surely God needs my help.
Recently, my husband and I had the special opportunity to keep our one-year-old grandson for a few days. We spent weeks childproofing our house. After moving cleaning products out of the kitchen and doing a bit of rearranging, only one lower cabinet needed to be locked. Our grandson could still access the pots and pans, plastic storage containers, placemats and mixing bowls. But the “grill cabinet,” the one with the meat probe and thermometer and sharp grill utensils, was shut tight.
You can guess the next part of the story. The one cabinet door that had been made inaccessible to little hands was the only one that interested our grandson. I believe he would have used a crowbar to open the door had one been available to him.
Why had we shut off that cabinet? It wasn’t because its contents were valuable. We could easily have replaced them had they been broken. No, we didn’t care about the grill items getting broken. We cared about our grandson being safe. We wanted to protect him from getting into anything that would hurt him.
Wherever you are in your ministry—whether you’re rebuilding your life from a painful past, enjoying a fresh start in a new endeavor or trying to figure out what in the world God is doing—continue submitting your thoughts and decisions to our Heavenly Father. Continue asking Him “to shut against you every door but the right one.” If He shuts a door, it’s not because He’s hiding the fun stuff. He’s protecting you. He knows what is best for you. So keep asking God to close every door except the right one.
And resist getting the crowbar. God doesn’t need it.