God’s method for preventing us from
going in the wrong direction in life.
How he opens and closes doors to redirect us.
Importantly, please read the introductory article, “God’s guiding hand” to this subsection of the website (with the same title) before going on. That is if you have not done so already. It briefly describes the various methods of God’s guidance, available to us. And it discusses how they can assist us during life, especially if we deliberately harness them.
(To read about the ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of this website please click here.)
God does know the skills and abilities we each possess and what we really need in life, which includes that personal relationship he wants with each of us. Essentially, as I have already stated in the intro article for this subsection of the website, God has a plan in mind for each and every one of us. (He also has a plan for humankind in its entirety as well, but although that subject is fascinating in its own right it is outside the scope of this article.)
Now, God normally allows us to make our own decisions in life. He may try to hint which way we should go, but again he normally lets us make final decisions. The articles following in this subsection of the website elaborate on those methods of guidance … that we should follow by the way.
In this article I discuss God’s method for preventing us from making major mistakes in life. How he ‘stops’ us taking the wrong direction in life!
2. WHY GOD OPENS AND CLOSES DOORS
So God does know what will work best for each of us in life, and accordingly plans for us. Remember he has a view of our lives on Earth, which is from outside the constraints of our space/ time continuum (that he also sustains). He can see the end results of our choices, even as we make them!
2.1 God’s sovereign power
Whether we like to believe it or not, God has sovereign power over all his creation. He is the ultimate Boss after all.
Although he may use this unlimited power sparingly in our lives he can – through seemingly normal (but often extremely ‘unlikely’) events – adjust our direction in life.
He simply orchestrates events. He makes them happen, whether we want them at the time, or not!
2.2 Why does God make things happen?
Some areas of God’s plans, for each of us, appear to be so important that they are indeed non negotiable, as far as he is concerned. Our individual journeys of faith are for example very important to our current lives, and our lives beyond that, as far as God is concerned.
Simply explained, our plans to significantly deviate from God’s view of the best way forward in life can simply be blocked by him, through his arranging of circumstances. Alternatively, if a certain direction in life is vitally important to us, in God’s plan for us, even though at the time we may be ignorant of it, God can prevent us from heading away from that!
Christians refer to this particular guiding power of God in life as “opening and closing doors.” A simple example from the Christian Old Testament (pre Jesus bits):
In his heart a man plans his course,
but the Lord determines his steps.
These words are from the Christian New Testament (the Jesus bits):
These are the words of him who is holy and true,
who holds the key of David.
What he opens no one can shut,
and what he shuts no one can open.
3. EXAMPLES OF CLOSED DOORS
This method of guiding us, that is ‘closed doors’, is clearly illustrated in the Bible. And I am reasonably sure that I have encountered the odd example in my own life. I write that as a result of an analysis of my life in hindsight.
2.1 Biblical examples
A good example of God’s “door shutting” in the Bible is described in the Book of Acts within the New Testament. Personally, I just love the bland, ‘matter of fact’ way the events are described there (I have added the italics), “Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept from preaching the word in the province of Asia.”
Additional details of God’s actions, to ensure that Paul and his companions did go exactly where he wanted them to go, can be read in Acts 16:6-15. Even so, the verses do not state how God ‘closed the door’ on the so-called province of Asia.
Another destination actually became known to them through a dream experienced by Paul. It subsequently became obvious that God indeed did have a clear purpose within the events. I also suggest you read on from Acts 16:16 to follow events as they subsequently unfolded for Paul and his companions.
2.2 Examples of mine
Examples of ‘closed doors’ in my own life, as I have identified them in retrospect, related to personal relationships when I was a young single man. Another example related to a sporting obsession that ate up most of my available free time, and some that was not available I might add, during my late twenties.
As I see it now, the ‘wrong wife’ and that obsessive sporting interest certainly were both capable of preventing my Christian journey of faith from ever beginning. Although an atheist at those times, please understand that I was at least capable of recognising the sudden, and most unlikely preventative circumstances, together with their outcomes. Yes, I could identify the incredible timing and most unlikely nature of differing events; the end of any further opportunity in all cases.
As hard as I have analysed my past life, I cannot locate any other examples of God’s ‘doors’. In other words, I could not identify any other directions in life that were changed by events that just had crazy (standout) odds against them happening at all. So from my own perspective, at least, closing or opening doors are very rare in our lives.
I can now understand that my faith journey would become increasingly vital as time past, where God’s plan for me was not going to be thwarted by my ill informed choices. There is a fair chance, as I have written, that I would never have come to faith at all if he had not changed my life’s direction in those ways. Nor would I have undertaken my audit of Christian faith and belief, performed over three decades, that underpins this website’s articles. Again, please click here to read about the ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of this website.
4. RECOGNISING IT IN YOUR LIFE
I must state firstly that, of course, God will not necessarily choose to ‘arrange circumstances’ so as to influence your love life. But, I do believe if you too look back over your past life there is a chance you will recognise similar instances of extremely unlikely preventative events there. Events that have changed an important aspect of your life’s direction.
For example look for obvious turning points in your life, or where you became locked into a certain critical direction in life. These turning points would have been effected by serious ‘pear shaped’ events at the time. And from my experience these events can occur with monotonous regularity (bang … bang … bang!) until there is no other option left but to go ‘that other way’.
And probably now, at a later time in life, you can count your blessings that it all happened in the way that it did. I am fairly confident that when you get in touch with them; the way they just happen at ‘pivotal’ times in life, then they really do stand out.
Of course, it is unlikely that any of these examples, you might find in your life, will in isolation prove that God exists to you, but recognising them will start to build that body of evidence you need for ‘believing in God’.
As explained in the intro there are other methods God uses to guide us, maybe not quite as dramatically mind you.
Please continue on to “God’s leadings”.
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