Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Living With Closed Doors

Hebrews 11:13 is an amazing verse, it simply states: "All these great people died in faith. They did not get the things that God promised his people, but they saw them coming far in the future and were glad."  This verse is in reference to many great people of God, who lived difficult lives from Abel to Noah to Abraham.  Here are these great people of faith who, "did not get the things that God had promised his people."  I believe this is in reference to three things: 1.) the promised land, 2.) seeing the numerical increase of family and the establishment of a great nation, and 3.) the promised Messiah.  But, focusing only on #3, all of God's great people listed in the hall of faith did not get this.  Additionally, everyone listed in Hebrews 11 had many doors closed that were never opened.  Moses never entered the promised land during his lifetime and Jeremiah (one of the prophets) preached God's word to people who would not listen. Jeremiah, "the weeping prophet", died while God's people had been taken away to captivity.

How do we live when doors continually shut and never open?  We live the way the "people of faith" lived in Hebrews 11.  Notice, in verse 13, that these individuals, "that did not get the things God promised" were "glad."  How can this be?  How do you live with doors that never open? The rest of Hebrews 11 provides the answer: " They said they were like visitors and strangers on earth. 14 When people say such things, they show they are looking for a country that will be their own. 15 If they had been thinking about the country they had left, they could have gone back. 16 But they were waiting for a better countrya heavenly country. So God is not ashamed to be called their God, because he has prepared a city for them."

It was their focus and perspective in life that got them through the closed doors.  And, it's that same focus and perspective that will get you through the closed doors of life.  When life doesn't make sense, look to the one who gives meaning to the closed doors!  This perspective and focus will get you through any and all situations that life throws at you.  

The Apostle Paul made it clear that our perspective is the key during difficult times of closed doors.  He had a difficulty that he begged the Lord to take care of, but God would not open that door for Paul.  Paul's perspective of his closed door is beautifully seen in 2 Corinthians 12 - "9 But he (the Lord) said to me, “My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you.” So I am very happy to brag about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can live in me. 10 For this reason I am happy when I have weaknesses, insults, hard times, sufferings, and all kinds of troubles for Christ. Because when I am weak, then I am truly strong."

Everyone faces closed doors of life, some of which may never open. The only way to live with these closed doors is to look to the one (focus) who can fill us with His grace.  Look to what's coming and be glad. Your perspective makes a difference in the closed doors of life. How's your perspective?