You were praying. Others were praying for you too. God seemed to be opening a door and ushering you through it … but just as quickly as the door opened, He lightly closed it. You were disappointed. Maybe shocked and even a little embarrassed, almost like you had failed.
I am sure you have been there more than once. I have. But eventually I look back at Jesus – the ultimate reject. The ultimate failure in the eyes of the world. He was mocked and scorned. Jesus, like us, had a partially unanswered prayer. He said, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Luke 22:42).
Jesus though, despite His pain, was looking for godly gain. Above His need for immediate deliverance, He embraced perseverance. He endured humiliation for the plan of God – a plan to save us. Jesus didn’t take the opportunity to exert His godly power and take Himself down from the cross. He was faithful. He trusted. He waited. He served others on the cross – even in His pain. He wasn’t knocking down any doors.
He knew the Father’s plan and purpose. We can trust this plan too – because it is from Him. We don’t need to fear. He has directed our steps. He has given us His words and His inspiration. He has helped us to encourage others and to change lives. He has given us excitement and passion.
To know our purpose is a blessing that is unique, special and sometimes unusual. He chose us. That cannot be taken away. We must remember there is a plan greater than our own, for a purpose bigger than our own, at a time better than our own. Our ways are not His ways.
Isaiah 55:8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”
Isaiah 40:31 “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Instead of knocking down doors, what should we do? Pursue, follow through, and renew our strength in the Lord. Faithfully move forward and trust God for the next open door. Know that God is in charge. Understand that He knows what He is doing – whether it suits our timing or not. Instead of frowning at that shut door – let it stand before you like the cross.
Let it represent all Christ has done for you. Let it be an example of how much He loves you. It stands to give you purpose and significance. It stands to bring a message of love to others. It stands to change the world. Jesus didn’t go to these lengths – on that cross – only to see your joy, your hope, your faith dashed by an unexpected closed door.
When we have unanswered prayers, we can choose to trust the One Who is sovereign over all or we can choose to live defeated and discouraged. We face that choice every day of our lives.