Finding the Path: An Open and Shut Case

Published July 20, 2015 by

Are you good at figuring out how to get from here to there? I am not, particularly. I often find myself “recalculating the route” or making U-turns. Especially when the place I’m trying to get to is unknown.

 

The Bible is full of verses about finding the path, or the door, or the gate, or the way. Faith is filled with “journey” language. Early followers of Jesus were simply called “People of the Way.” And yet, we seem to have a hard time discovering which way to go in life. Choices often leave us anxious and uncertain.

 

I do not believe that God has mapped out my life with one “right” path and many “wrong” paths, because that would mean my life is like a rat in a maze, somehow trying to discover the path of reward. No, I don’t think there’s just one right way to go in my life or in any life.

 

But I also heartily believe that God knows infinitely more than I do about the consequences of taking each path available to me. (And it’s always wise to consult someone smarter.) Psalm 37:5 says “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Commit your way. Whatever way you choose, dedicate it to God. The choice is yours. There will likely be good and bad involved in any choice. Trust that God’s instructions for living are adequate for the way. The promise, when we commit and trust, is that God will ACT on your behalf. I want to bear witness to the truth of this promise.

 

Several months ago, I began to get restless. A new friend gave me a curious gift without explanation: a wall hanging that said, “When God closes one door, he opens another.” It reminded me of The Sound of Music, when Maria quotes the Mother Abbess saying, “When the Lord closes one door, somewhere he opens a window.” The gift was strangely appropriate, though my friend didn’t know it, because I was sensing that God was preparing to do something new in my life. I had no idea what that would be. The more I tried to figure it out, the more I despaired at my ability to figure out my own path. So I began to pray this prayer, “God, please open the doors you would open for me really wide, and close any doors you don’t want me to walk though tightly. Make it super-obvious!” I recommend this prayer – though be warned that it can be answered with a series of door-slams.

 

But at last, the doors swung open! In the span of three weeks, my husband and I were offered jobs in the Chicago area. I have accepted a new call, to serve as chaplain at a large retirement community. It’s not what I envisioned when the restlessness began. I didn’t know if God was going to do something new with me here in Marquette County, or elsewhere. I didn’t know anything about timing. I didn’t know … anything. But that’s how life is. And so it’s good to have a God who does know.

 

This will be my last column in the Mining Journal. So as I leave my dear church, and the U.P., and this assignment of writing columns for you, I want to say thank you. Thank you for letting me live in this paradise for these four and half years. Thank you for friendship and encouragement. Thank you for helping me see God more clearly. And thank you for being interested in “Thinking Faith” with me.

 

Keep committing your way to the Lord, trusting him, and watching for his action. Pray for wide-open doors and tightly-closed doors to make navigation through life easier. God will be faithful. God will show you a path or an open door in due time. And remember, choosing the path isn’t the ultimate decision. The ultimate decision is committing that “way” to the Lord. God bless you on your journey!

(This blog post originally ran as a column in the Mining Journal newspaper 7/11/15)

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