Yesterday, my husband and I found ourselves staring at yet another closed door in a season that has been full of them.
As followers of Christ, what do we do with those moments when He allows doors to close…and there is no sign that an open door is in the future anytime soon?
1) Allow yourself to feel the feelings that rise to the surface: disappointment, sadness, confusion, fear, even anger. Our feelings are powerful and it is pointless to deny them. So don’t try. Pour out your heart to your God who is always listening. (Psalm 62:8)
2) Remember that you don’t have allow your feelings to be in the driver’s seat. After acknowledging them, relegate them to the place they belong: in the background, not in the forefront.
It has taken me years to learn this. I used to live in a very reactive way; I allowed my feelings to dictate what my day would look like.
The result was a rollercoaster ride and that’s only fun for a few wild moments at an amusement park. It’s no way to live a life.
Then Jesus taught me how to live by the truth of His Word…NOT by my circumstances, which could change on a dime.
It’s the difference between standing on solid rock and standing on quicksand.
I have become proactive in that I now prioritize His Word over my feelings.
For example, after getting that news yesterday, my feelings rose up and LOUDLY said, “I can’t do this anymore. It’s too hard. I’m exhausted. When will this end?”
And through the gift of His Word, Jesus spoke truth and comfort to my heart:
“Susan, you have strength for all things through Me. I empower you. You are ready for anything and equal to anything through Me. I infuse inner strength into You…My grace is enough for you (sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble)…My strength and power are made perfect and show themselves most effective in your weakness…Remember, you are waiting for ME: not an event…expect Me. Hope in Me. Live close to Me and I will renew your strength so that you will run and not be weary…Your times are in MY hands… I am guiding you along these unfamiliar paths. I will turn the darkness into light and I will make the rough places smooth. I will not forsake you…I will NEVER stop doing good to you.” (Philippians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Isaiah 40:31; Psalm 31:15; Isaiah 42:16; Jeremiah 32:40).
3) Preach the Gospel–the Good News– to yourself every single day..especially when dealing with disappointment.
Our pastor in Florida taught us this and it is the KEY to living a victorious, peaceful, and incredibly joyful life, even in the midst of pain.
As a result of the Fall, I am sinner, saved by grace alone. Jesus absorbed the righteous wrath of the Father against sin on my behalf so that I might be forgiven and free.
I don’t ever want to get over that!
As Pastor Tullian so rightly declares, “Once God rescues sinners, His plan isn’t to steer them beyond the gospel but to move them more deeply into it.”
One way to do this is to read books on the subject of Christ’s radical sacrifice on our behalf. One of my favorites is A Violent Grace by Michael Card. I read it prior to Easter every year and every single time, I am driven to my knees in worship to my beautiful Savior. Just mediate on the following statements from this slim volume for a little while as a way to put whatever your current situation may be into perspective:
He was born to die so I could be born to new life.
He suffered temptation so I could experience victory.
He was betrayed that I might know His faithfulness.
He was arrested and bound so I could be rescued from bondage.
He stood trial alone that I might have an advocate.
He was wounded so I could be healed.
He endured mockery so I could know dignity and joy.
He was condemned so the truth could set me free.
He was crowned with thorns so I might crown Him with praise.
He was nailed to the cross so I might escape judgment.
He was stretched out between thieves so I could know the reach of Love.
He suffered thirst so I can drink Living Water.
He said, “It is finished” so I could begin my walk of faith.
He was God’s Lamb slain so I could claim His sacrifice as my own.
He was forsaken by the Father so I would never be rejected.
He chose the shame of weakness so I could know the hope of glory.
He shed His blood so I could be white as snow.
His heart was pierced so mine could be made whole.
He died and was buried so the grave could not hold me.
He rose again so I might experience eternal life.
He is known by His scars so I will take up my cross and follow Him. —-Michael Card
I can trust a Savior like this with every closed door.
So, I will dry my tears.
I will move on from this closed door, knowing that no season lasts forever and that one day, the right door WILL open wide.
Until then, I will keep moving forward. I will trust Him with what I cannot understand. I will praise Him. I will celebrate His never-ending goodness to me. I will thank Him for His many gifts. I will stay in His Word.
And I will hope.
“God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.”—Spurgeon