Originally published on May 13, 2020
God’s Will and Closed Doors
I grew up in North Carolina in the foothills of the mountains. My Daddy loved music and sang in the church choir. He would sit on the back porch with a radio on listening to Gospel music, 88.1 was his favorite. I would often find him bowing in prayer as he listened. As a kid I never really got it. But now as an adult, wife, mother, daughter, and sister I do. I have no doubt my Daddy was praying for things in his life; family, friends, coworkers, circumstances. I still listen to some of those Gospel tunes; they seem to soothe my soul. My Dad’s example taught me to pray and worship no matter the issue.
I have been dealing with a sinus issue which is causing some other problems for about 5 months now. I was scheduled for surgery mid-April but COVID put a halt on that. I can’t say I’ve had real peace about the surgery but felt it was just me not sure about being cut on. I’m blessed with co-workers, friends, and family that have all been praying for months for me. I changed my prayer this week: if God’s will is for me to not have the surgery, I pray that He would close that door completely. I’m one of those people that wait and wait for God’s signs. Often, to my own unhappiness that I didn’t step out in faith in something. My friend is one of those that prays, takes the option she feels is best, and believes God will correct her path if it’s wrong. I think I am way more reluctant, so I can miss the blessing in the meantime.
I went in for that surgery a few days ago. Still with the same prayer, God’s will, closed doors. To my surprise I woke up with only anesthesia and no surgery. My body was not cooperating to complete the surgery so the anesthesiologist with the doctor decided to stop. All I could think was if that’s not a closed door I don’t know what is!
Today as I think over everything I was tempted to question, God why did you wait until the last minute? It brought an old song to mind, one that my Daddy listened to named “Four Days Late” written by Aaron Wilburn and recorded by Karen Peck & New River. The song tells about the death of Lazarus,
The news came to Jesus, Please come fast
Lazarus is sick and without your help he would not last.
Mary and Martha watched their brother die
They waited for Jesus, He did not come
And they wondered why.
The death watch was over. Buried four days
Somebody said He’ll soon be here, the Lord’s on His way
Martha ran to Him and then she cried
Lord if you had been here You could have healed him
He’d still be alive.
But You’re four days late And all hope is gone
Lord we don’t understand why you’ve waited so long
But His way is God’s ways Not yours or mine
When He’s four days late
He’s still on time
He’s still on time even in that outpatient surgery! It wasn’t too late for God or last minute the way I may see it! His ways are not mine and I am thankful for that! I started to think of the story of Abraham and Isaac. God told Abraham to take Isaac to the region of Moriah and sacrifice him. The Bible says on the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. I wonder what his prayer was on that walk. Three days is a long time to think and pray! Did he pray God’s will to be done? Did he pray for a last minute closed door, or in his case a last minute alternate offering? The Bible doesn’t say Abraham’s thoughts, but it does say he was faithful. God stopped him just in time; God wasn’t too late!
I realized I’ve been feeling God is late on a lot of things lately. All of this virus stuff, jobs shut down, schools closed, no meeting in person at church, daily life not what it used to be. But instead of thinking that way, I have to trust God’s will. That He is moving and miracles are happening in the midst of the chaos that I may be focused on. So I will hold on to this verse, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9.
So who do you tend to be like? Are you like me waiting on the big flashing sign or are you like my friend taking a chance first and waiting for God’s guidance after? Maybe your prayer is to take a step of faith in forgiveness of someone that has wronged you. Perhaps it’s a step in faith of a new job or knowing your next steps from a recent layoff. Could it be a step of faith in dealing with your marriage or your kids? Do you just need to get back to the basics with God, just you and Him? Could God want you to put your trust in Him with another area of your life? Does it feel like it’s too late? I want you to know it’s not! If I’ve learned anything from this, God’s timing is always perfect, never late! I want to encourage you to pray God’s will and worship. He is hearing and answering our prayers. He loves you so and wants to be in every aspect of your life!