You have heard the saying, “When God closes one door, he opens another.” But to me it has always felt a second best. A consolation prize. Something I didn’t really want.
But the other day I saw it differently… I had to cancel an important meeting because of a Covid incident. I felt disappointed. But now with free time on my hands, I took a long walk with someone. It turned out they were asking the question, “What is the point?” And this conversation was SO IMPORTANT, God had to clear my diary!
Could it be that when God shuts a door, it is because he has an urgent need for us to be his heart and hands, his feet and voice?
Derek just finished leading the Navigators UK. Eight good years, and I thank God from the bottom of my heart. Derek did such a good job.
Yet, for all this joy, I grieve. I cared for the people we worked with – deeply. Prayed for them. Hoped for them. And now it is over, even though that care for them keeps flowing.
So, in desperation I look to Jesus, and he reminds me of this – he is the author and perfecter* of my life and theirs. All of us are turning the page to the next chapter in our lives. All of us wait with bated breath. But as our lives diverge, we are in good hands, for Jesus knows what happens next. He has our stories mapped out.
There is another side to what we are experiencing now. For when we stop, we begin to see. When we are silent, we begin to hear. We begin to notice what other people feel. Stopping is just as much living, as running our marathons.
“Jesus stopped and called [two blind men]. ‘What do you want me to do for you?'” (Matthew 20:32) He saw their pain and dared to care.
“Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ So they called to the blind man, ‘Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.'” (Mark 10:49) He enabled others to do the same.
In our lockdowns, personal and social, we can follow Jesus’ example. We can stop. And we don’t have to be afraid, for he wants us to see.
“Who has the biggest ego in this house?” one family member asked.
We looked at each other, not knowing what to say. This was a serious question. Nervous laughter ran around the supper table. It could be any one of us. “The cat!” someone piped up. “She takes first place!”
We laughed again, and I felt relieved. I could hide behind our narcissistic cat. This way I wouldn’t have to examine my life… But I did.
I looked up ‘ego’ in the dictionary: a sense of self-esteem or self-importance. That sounded essential. To look both ways before I crossed a street. To open an umbrella when it rained. Yes! God wants us to care for ourselves, BUT he also wants us to care for others. This is how we differ from cats!