How God stops 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 guidance” to this subsection of the website, “God’s guiding hand” 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. That is if we decide to use them.
(To read about the ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of this website please click here.)
God does know the skills, abilities and personal weaknesses we each possess and what we really ‘need’ in life. And that includes the ‘personal relationship‘ he wants to have with each of us.
Essentially, as I have already stated in the intro article to this subsection, God has a plan in mind for each and every one of us. (He also has a plan for the whole of humankind as well. But although that subject is fascinating, 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, mind you, but again he normally lets us make final decisions. The articles following in this subsection further explain those types of guidance – that we should follow by the way.
In this article though I discuss God’s method for PREVENTING us from making major mistakes in life. How he actually ‘stops’ us going in the wrong direction!
2. WHY GOD OPENS AND CLOSES DOORS
So God does know what will work best for each of us in life, plus those who we can positively affect in their lives. And as a result he has plans for us. Remember he has the ability to see beyond our human view of time and space. Please see the article, “So what is God?” for an explanation. Therefore, God can see the end results of our choices in life, even as we make them!
2.1 God’s sovereign power
Whether we like to believe it or not, our Lord has ‘sovereign’ power over all his creation. He is the Big Boss after all.
Although God rarely uses this unlimited power in our lives, he can – through seemingly normal (but often extremely ‘unlikely’) events – adjust our direction.
He simply orchestrates events. He makes them happen, sets them up, whether we want them at the time or not!
2.2 Why does God make some things happen?
Some areas of God’s plans, for each of us, appear to be so important that they are indeed ‘not negotiable’, as far as he is concerned. Our individual journeys of faith are for example very important in our current lives, and our lives beyond that, as far as God is concerned.
Simply explained, our plans to significantly move away from God’s view of the best way forward in life can simply be ‘blocked’ by him, through his ‘arranging’ of events. On the other hand, if a certain direction in life is vitally important in God’s plan for us – even though at the time we may not know it – God can prevent us from heading away from it!
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 experienced the odd example in my own life. I write that as a result of analysing some very unlikely events that have happened to me …. and unexpectedly ‘turned things around’ as a result.
3.1 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 make sure 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. And it became obvious later that God indeed did have a clear purpose within the events. I also suggest you read on from Acts 16:16 to follow actual events as they unfolded for Paul and his companions.
3.2 Examples of mine
Examples of ‘closed doors’ in my own life, as I have identified them in hindsight, 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/ partner’ and that obsessive sporting interest, that could have lasted for decades, 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 events, together with their outcomes that ‘stopped me in my tracks’.
Yes indeed, as an atheist, I could recognise the incredible timing and most unlikely nature of the events; the END of any further opportunity in all cases.
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 damaged by my bad 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 decades, that underpins many of 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 God may not necessarily choose to ‘arrange events’ so as to alter 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 very unlikely events there that ‘stopped you in your tracks’. Events that have changed an important part of your life’s direction. That is they really have ‘closed doors’!
For example look for obvious ‘turning points’ in your life, or where you became locked into a certain and ‘very important direction’ in life. These turning points would have been affected 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 choice 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 just prove to you that God exists. But recognising them may well start to build that ‘body of evidence‘ you need for ‘believing in God’. This website clearly offers lots of guidance on how to do just that. And like me, I know you may need a few of these sorts of examples to do so!
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”.