God Is Opening and Closing Doors for Us All the Time
When we understand that 'circumstantial signs' are part of the Lord's plan for us — we can pray differently
You are not alone! Thankfully, we were not left as orphans when Christ’s life here on earth was completed. He sent us His Holy Spirit to guide us in all ways. We don’t have to live blindly, bumbling along, trying to figure out life by ourselves. God has promised to guide each of us and this guidance or connection to God is what our relationship to Him is all about.
In John 10:27, Jesus says: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you — plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.”
Jesus says people who follow Him listen to his voice. Just as a shepherd guides his sheep, He will guide us. Jeremiah 29:11 says: “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you — plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.”
God is sovereign. Nothing happens to us randomly. He uses circumstances to guide us through what might otherwise seem like haphazard events. Proverbs 16:9 says: “The human heart plans the way, but the LORD directs the steps.”
Again, God speaks through the Psalmist by saying, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will act” (Psalm 37:5)
So if you’re facing a difficult decision about a relationship, your career, your future or something else, this verse encourages us to commit and trust our ways to the Lord — and believe that He will act on our behalf.
Boldly say out loud, “Jesus, I trust in you — I’m giving you this.” And open your hands and give it to Jesus.
That means you are giving Him permission to open or to close doors. God often guides us through “circumstantial signs,” meaning that God will bring things to an end by clearly shutting a door in order to make it impossible for us to move in that direction.
My husband and I had been working very hard on a particular project and had to make a big decision about our future. We truly did not know which way we should go, but asked that God would make it very clear. We met with the people who we were thinking would present us with some appealing options — but instead of offering us hope for the future, they very abruptly shut the door to any further possibilities. It was made very clear which way we should go, though we found it bit shocking. And then, by His grace, He very beautifully opened the door for a far more fruitful option.
God is in the business of opening and shutting doors. Pray that He will make His will clear for you, too.
If you would like to explore more about guidance, I highly recommend reading Fr. Jacques Philippe’s “In the School of the Holy Spirit.” This book challenged me in big and small ways in the things of God. The church has always recognized ways in which God guides us: through the Holy Bible (commanding scripture), through the Holy Spirit (compelling spirit) through our reasoning minds (common sense), through Godly Counsel (counsel of the saints), and lastly, through the sovereign providence of God — the way in which He is able to order all events (circumstantial signs).
The last little tidbit of advice on guidance we can read about in scripture is this: Do not be in too big of a hurry. Hebrews 6:15 states this about Abraham: “And so, after patient waiting, he obtained the promise.”
Sometimes we don’t get our answers immediately; that can be very difficult. And sometimes we get in a hurry and make mistakes, thinking we heard one answer — only to find out it probably was another. That, too, can be painful. The wonderful news is that God loves us and forgives us, and He’s even able to make something beautiful even out of our mistakes.
Do not be afraid. Trust. God is sovereign and in control. Only believe. “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
We ask that You would give us the grace to open our ears to hear and our hands to be detached so that You can be You — God. We ask that You would lead us more and more clearly each day as we take time to listen and try to discern the Shepherd’s voice speaking to us as we daily read Your word. We ask that You would give us godly counsel and good sense as we walk along life’s paths. And that Your hand would be upon us to lead us by opening and closing doors so that our way would be clear and smooth. Only by Your grace, Lord, can we have a relationship with You and lead lives pleasing to You, so please guide us deeper into Your heart … then all else will be an overflow of this fruitful union with You.
We ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Melissa Overmyer is founder of Something Greater Ministries in Washington, D.C., and has been teaching the Bible for over 30 years. This article is based on information presented at an ALPHA course.