Have you heard the saying, “When one door closes, another door opens”? Or the “Christian” cliché, “When God closes a door, He opens a window”? These sayings are not biblical; they are not found in the Scriptures. Rather that’s the attitude we often take to try to cope with disappointments. However, this type of mindset doesn’t quite give us an answer to the question of why things don’t always work out the way we had planned. So we feel discouraged; we question God. Why God? (I’ll deal with the subject of questioning God later).
Last year I thought that God had opened a door for me to minister His word in two African countries, Benin Republic and Uganda from December 01 to 23, 2016. I was to travel with another pastor from Texas. Everything was in place; tickets purchased (with no insurance), travelling visas secured and an appointment for traveling immunization arranged (this is required if you’re travelling outside the country). I was excited and looking forward to closing the year with a “bang” in the Africa soil, preaching the word of God. Suddenly there came the bad news.
The pastor who had invited us had fallen sick and awas rushed to the hospital for surgery. The trip had to be suspended hoping that he would recover. But two days after the “successful” surgery, our pastor friend passed away, and the trip had to be cancelled. You can imagine the disappointment. Naturally, in my mind, I questioned, “Why God”? I thought I was that spiritual to hear from God audibly. That didn’t happen. All sorts of thoughts crossed my mind, including why did this man have to die? I had to emotionally deal with this tragedy. I also had to deal with the airline for the cancellation of the tickets. Of course, they cut their “pound of flesh,” almost one-third of the cost of my flight. That wouldn’t have been that bad if the reason for the cancellation was different from the death of the pastor.
Sometimes things happen to which we have no an answer. However, the consolation is having the assurance and the ability to know that God is always aware of everything that happens. As natural as it is to question God – not from the place of doubt, but rather from a place of trusting confidence and relationship – we may not always get the answer we desire. However, God always has a way of assuring us that He is aware and in control of whatever situation we are in, or whatever question we might have. We can always receive comfort from His written word, through which He speaks to us.
As I contemplated on this event, my mind went to the book of Isaiah 55. The Lord, speaking in a poetical genre through Isaiah to the children of Israel says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9). Although the context in which God spoke these words through Isaiah differs from the situation I have just described, I was able to grasp the truth of His infinite wisdom and sovereignty. I was able to relax and rely totally on Him. I was able to say with David, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” That brings me to the main point of this blog and to challenge you to wait on and trust the Lord in whatever situation you are in. While the first door of ministry closed, God has opened another door for us (the pastor from Texas and me) to minister in Uganda. While 2016 ended with a setback of some sort, 2017 begins with an open door for ministry to the people of Uganda from the January 12-22 including our travelling time. (See the attached poster). Please pray for us for God’s grace and for His glory to be made manifest through us. *
When you face disappointments or discouragements, or even when tragedies struck like losing a dear friend, don’t despair; wait patiently on Him whose “ways are higher than your ways and (His) thoughts higher than your thoughts.” He always comes through because he is ever reliable and faithful. “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” the Lord says (Isa. 55:1).
May the 2017 open new doors for you, whatever that door looks like.
*(If you like to support this venture and be a part of our ministry, projects, and programs, please contact us through REST INTERNATIONAL MINISTRIES at email@example.com a tax-deductible receipt will be issued to you for your donation).