Dealing with Closed Doors

Have you ever believed with all your heart something was God’s Will for your life only to have Him suddenly close that door?  The pain and frustration of that moment will overwhelm us for a short time until our faith in the Lord is strengthened, but the experience affects us long after that initial sorrow has passed.  The scars from that closed door could lead us to question God’s goodness or our ability, refuse to attempt anything that could result in failure, live the rest of life in our “comfort zone”, or in my case be too afraid to take that step of faith when the next door for ministry is opened.

In May 2010 I applied for the Chaplaincy position at a local high school less than five minutes from my house.  During the process the Lord blessed and  I just knew it was His will for me to begin working there, so when my application was rejected it broke my heart.  The initial pain of that experience didn’t last very long because the Lord assured me this setback was part of His plan, but later it became apparent that this rejection  affected me more than I had thought.  Since arriving in Melbourne in January 2010 for my second term of service there has been a deep calling upon my heart to minister within the Australian school system.  When the Chaplaincy ministry fell through that burden became stronger but I was no longer willing to act on it.

During June I was contacted by a Christian group that organizes religious education classes in public schools and was assured they could give me a teaching position.  At the time students were nearing a two week semester break so applying at that time would almost guarantee being able to teach at least one class in the final term.  But for more than a month the phone number of a coordinator who could place me in a school was left uncalled.  Why didn’t I pick up a phone and call her?  Because I was afraid that open door of ministry would be slammed shut in my face.  Because it was easier and much more comfortable not getting involved in school ministry.  Because the embarrassment of not becoming Chaplain hindered me from taking that step of faith.  Over the weeks I began to rationalize and come up with excuses why this ministry couldn’t possibly be God’s Will for my life, while at the same time knowing it was.

It took a conversation with a fellow missionary who confirmed God’s call to become involved in RE classes before I was willing to confess my sin before the Lord.  Since then I have started the process of applying to teach at least one class beginning in February 2012, and become part of a mentor to seventh or eighth grade boys at a nearby school.  Even as I write this there is a big part of me that thinks the Lord may close this door just like with the Chaplaincy (although it doesn’t seem that way) but that doesn’t matter. The important thing about dealing with close doors or opportunities is not allowing them to affect the way we respond to what God does next in our lives.  Everyone has a story about Gods closing one door only to open a new (and better) one…whats yours?

 

Because of Who He is,

 

John Wilburn

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