Strength to Rest (Lessons From Closed Doors)

The door slammed shut resoundingly.  The force with which it was closed sent vibrations pulsating through the air.  Tremors quivered throughout my whole being.

Surely this couldn’t be what God had in store for me.

In one moment, the open door to the strength, energy and endurance that He had provided for me for so many years…

Was shut.

And I could not open it.

Physically, I was exhausted.  A simple activity like standing stressed my heart, and left me leaning against a wall for support.  Now instead of spending my days doing the good work that God had set before me to do – wife, mother, friend, ministry opportunities – I was spending most hours of the day on my bed.

Mentally, I struggled so much with this, for in my mind this was just laziness.  I felt guilty.  I felt useless.  I felt like the purpose God had given me had been ripped out and cast into the wind.

Spiritually, I spent many hours in prayer, crying out to God – frustrated, hurt, and with so many questions that didn’t seem to have answers.

In particular, I really struggled with Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

I cannot count the number of times that I had seen God’s faithfully fulfill this verse in my life, but for a period of time, it seemed that it was no longer true in my life…

For I could not “do” much…

And even though I asked God for strength to be able to go and do…

That door remained closed.

The “doing” part of my life was done for the time being.

But, it was during this time of this door being shut in my life, that God taught me a valuable lesson.

It was a part of Philippians 4:13 that I had not considered before.

In His goodness, God showed me that in Him, I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me…

Even rest.

For that was His will for me at that point of my life.

I had to learn to rest.  To be still.

And be content doing it:D

That was a hard lesson to learn…

In the verses preceding Philippians 4:13, Paul describes how he LEARNED to be content…

In whatever his circumstances…

Whether well fed or hungry…

In plenty or in want…

In any and every situation…

In plenty or in want…

He learned this lesson because God allowed Paul to experience situations that put him directly on the course that would teach him the lesson that God wanted him to learn…

Just as God was now allowing in my life.

Up until this point, for much of my life I had been given abundant strength.  God had taught me to endure, to keep on pressing on and not give up…

And He had always provided the strength to do the work He had given me to do.

But now, I had to learn to rely on His strength to rest…

Peacefully…

With joy…

With thankfulness…

With contentment…

Accepting that for now, this was His will for my life.

And that because this was His will for my life…this time of being so weak sometimes I could hardly stand up…

He would provide me with the strength that I needed to rest.

And He did:D

It wasn’t easy having God close this door.  I fought valiantly to open it again…

But, if you have ever tried to open a door that God has closed, you know how well that worked for me:D

Quite simply, it didn’t work.

Because God had another purpose in mind…lessons that He wanted to teach me that I would only learn on this new path that He had set before me.

One of those lessons was learning that I can do all things through Him who strengthens me…

Even rest:D

Sometimes I think it would be easier to swallow a mouthful of porcupine quills that to face a closed door:D  But, I have learned that when God closes a door in my life, or when He doesn’t allow a door to be opened He has a good purpose in mind.  So when I find myself facing a closed door, instead of trying to force my way through, I need to stop, be still, and ask God to teach me the lesson that He has for me to learn.  Some of these lessons are hard learned…and painful…and not necessarily what I thought I needed…

But, oh the joy of discovery and the gems of truth and the refining that has happened within my life as a result of these closed doors, has far exceeded the loss that I suffered as a result of the closed door.

When God closes a door, it’s because He has a good purpose for me – and for you – in mind:D

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