Amy Ickes | @AymieJoi
I did everything right. I know I did…
I did everything I knew to do, and then asked if there was anything else. And as I did these things, I saw God act. I saw signs that I was headed in the right direction. I saw confirmation of what He was asking me to do, and I said, “yes, Lord, whatever You want”, and I meant it.
It looks so superficial in a list like this, but please don’t miss my point: In searching out God’s will for my life, I did everything we’re taught to do in Scripture, and not just because I wanted an answer to my prayer. I did it because, as time went on, I realized that I genuinely wanted God Himself.
And when it looked like everything was in place, when it looked like He was finally going to answer after months and months of “no’s”…
The door slammed shut.
The door that looked like it was standing wide open to me. The door I had been tentatively approaching for weeks, checking back in with God to be absolutely sure it was what He wanted for me. The door I was celebrating. Until it slammed shut, I was sure it was meant for me, as were many, many other people who know me and who had been praying earnestly right along with me.
But at the end of the day, I was left standing in front of another locked door, my nose and my heart sore from its impact.
What had gone wrong?
God, I did everything You asked of me, remember? God, if You knew this wasn’t what You wanted for me, why did You leave that door open and lead me right to it? If You knew it was going to slam in my face, why did You let me believe, even for a second, that the answer I had been so desperately seeking was right there in front of me?
There is no good answer here. There are clichés and platitudes, but no good answer. From the outside looking in, God looks mean, cruel, and vindictive. From where I sit, here, staring at a room full of closed doors with no idea what to do next, God looks like a monster.
But here’s the truth: I don’t see what He sees. Never have, never will. I see these verses and know, He is God and I am not:
Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. Daniel 2:20-22
In the midst of intense emotional and spiritual pain, we have a choice to make: Will we run and hide or will we run to the only One who has truth? To the only One who gives peace and comfort? To the One who knows all and can do all? To the only One who is Immanuel, God with us?
My natural inclination when someone has hurt me is to run away, avoid, and cut off. But God isn’t “someone” – He’s the only One. There’s no running and hiding from Him. So instead, I just sit with Him – quietly, waiting, hoping – allowing Him to hold my wounded, bruised heart. He knows my pain, and even more, He knows what He is going to accomplish through it. He knows what’s next. And He knows which door is really mine.
So I choose to keep trusting, because for me, there really is no other alternative. He is all I have, He is all I need, and He really is all I want. Even if He never opens another door for the rest of my life, He will still be enough.
This is what I choose to believe. This is what I declare in a room full of slammed doors: God is enough.
What is your declaration?
Amy Ickes is a guest writer for The Back Row. She lives in New Jersey, has a Master's degree in counseling, and loves to teach and disciple teens and women. She has very strong feelings about the Steelers, West Wing, and giraffes, and enjoys being outside as much as possible and taking Seminary classes just for the fun of it. Amy writes irregularly at daughtersheart.wordpress.com and you can reach her at @AymieJoi or firstname.lastname@example.org.