An Open Door – The Gift of Disappointment
A few weeks ago a young man told me that while praying God gave him this text to share with me:
“See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut,” Rev. 3:8
After receiving this scripture I read and reread Jesus’s words to the church in Philadelphia. Asking God what does this exactly mean in the context of this passage and for my life. This was during the 40-Day Prayer Challenge, which I was journeying on with some of you and there were definitely doors I was praying God would open for ministry.
One of the doors I was praying about was a two day seminar I was to lead sponsored by Prison Fellowship & Denver Seminary in Cannon State Prison. I thoroughly enjoyed studying for the eight sessions I would teach on Friday and Saturday. And I was also feeling blessed and excited to have my brother Curt and a friend Henry, who was flying in from California, help out. As I was packing my suitcase for an early morning departure the next day, I got a call informing me that the prison was locked down for the entire weekend because of violence. The director of Prison Fellowship was surprised and added that this has not happened in a long time.
The door was closed and there was nothing I could do about it. After 40 days of praying and preparing for this ministry event. We were looking so forward to sharing the healing love of Abba Father with these men in prison and one phone call changed the entire weekend.
My friend Henry was great, the disappointment on my face was obvious, and so he made sure all was not wasted. Henry and a few others have been encouraging me to explore podcasting and so Henry decided this was the weekend it was going to happen. He put me to work, got me a mike and used his tech gifts and before you knew it we were podcasting! You can check it out on the website. I made Henry be the first interview and we just finished another that will come out this Thursday with a good friend Ray Haakonsen from South Africa. These two interviews were a blessing, something that wouldn’t have happened if the prison door had been open.
However, on February 29, I had a long conversation with God asking why He shut the prison door. As I wrestled with the Father over this, tears begin to flow and I felt overwhelmed as no answers came. I opened my Bible to my Gospel reading for the morning in Mark 9, the story of Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Even though I have read, studied, and preached on this text many times the Holy Spirit was bringing fresh insights that bombarded my mind. I quick picked up my journal and wrote everything that was coming. My spirit of despair was being lifted as I sensed the Father speaking life and revealing profound truth from the text.
Two doors opened that day that would not have if He had not shut the prison door. I hope in the next few blogs to share more about those doors. But for me the greatest door that opened that Monday that surpassed the other two was the one that opened up to the Father’s voice to me in Mark 9. He heard the cry of my heart and even though I didn’t get the answer I was looking for I got more of His loving presence, which was all that was needed.
The door of disappointment became a gift that led me to a different door that Christ has opened into the Father’s presence that no man can shut. So when disappointments come let them bring you to the door Christ opened for you into the loving presence of the Father.
Thank you for these beautiful words of truth! So encouraging.
This past Sunday, Mark 9, specifically verses 14-29, were what brought me to my knees. Abba spoke so beautifully to me through these. For over a year I have been struggling/wrestling with God so much. I thought I knew what and where He wanted to use me. I had found so much joy and power with the doors that had opened in allowing me to use the gifts He has given me. Then they were all slammed shut. I was angry at God. I have been praying so hard for Him to give me a heart of forgiveness, to open my eyes, ears and heart, to trust Him. Then Sunday these verses… they reminded me of how the disciples had just returned from using their gifts – preaching and healing in miraculous ways and then… the door was shut. They were unable to heal the boy. Why? Because they had forgotten whose power it is that heals. Their intimacy with and trust in Christ “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.” I don’t know about you, but for me, I have this struggle with flesh, with ALWAYS remembering Who it is that gives me the opportunities to exhibit His gifts – not mine.
What He showed me in these verses, is that I must maintain intimacy with Him if I am to be allowed to do anything For Him with the gifts He has given me. After receiving that Word from Him, while praying, praising and giving Him thanks for it, He also reminded me to trust Him. He is doing a new thing. Just as when it was time for Joshua to step out of the desert, into the promised land, so it is time for me – us, to step out of the desert and into what He is doing in His Kingdom on earth, the promised land.