God Has Placed before You an Open Door
by John Ortberg
I come from a long line of preachers, with a long line of stories about how they got their “call.”
I never got a call. It took me many years to understand that God may have very good reasons to leave choices up to us rather than sending us e-mails telling us what to do.
When the invitation to move from California to Chicago to serve as a pastor at Willow Creek Community Church came back in 1994, I faced the same dilemma. If pastors change churches, they’re supposed to have a clear call— especially if the new church is bigger than the old one.
Pastors will usually say things like “I didn’t want to go anywhere, but I got this strange sense of unrest in my spirit, and I had to obey.” Pastors almost never say stuff like “This new church is way bigger than my old church, and I am super excited about that.”
But I had thoughts like that. I knew they weren’t my best thoughts, or my only thoughts, but they were in the mix. And I had to struggle with them. I think maybe that’s part of why God works through open doors. They help us struggle with our real dreams and motives.
So my wife, Nancy, and I wrestled with this decision, and ultimately decided to go to Chicago. We got no divine direction or supernatural indicators as far as we could tell. But we chose it because the adventure of yes seemed more alive than the safety of no.
Very rarely in the Bible does God come to someone and say, “Stay.” Almost never does God interrupt someone and ask them to remain in comfort, safety, and familiarity. He opens a door and calls them to come through it.
But wait! There’s more. “Open door” isn’t a phrase to describe just any opportunity. An open door is an opportunity provided by God, to act with God and for God.
Maybe you are in a rut. Your life is safe but not fulfilling. You have a desire to do more or be more.
Maybe you are in transition. People are changing jobs, companies, and whole careers more often than ever before. How do you choose wisely?
Maybe you have a passion. You have traveled overseas and seen a great need, or you have studied a problem and want to make a difference. What’s your next step?
Perhaps you’re on the brink of an exciting relationship or thinking about marriage. How do you know if this person is “the one”?
Every morning is an open door; every moment can become one. Some of us see the doors and seize them, and so life becomes a divine adventure. Some of us shrink back or fail to see. To fail to embrace the open door is to miss the work God has made for us to do.
If we want to experience more of the Spirit of God in our lives, we need to train ourselves to look for and respond to moments of divine opportunity. Every journey—yours, too—will be filled with uncertainty and mystery and adventure and frustration and surprise.
God told Abram, “Go to the place I will show you.” That’s where the open door leads. To the place where God guides. God opened a door. Abram went. And the rest is history.
Where will your doors lead?
To find out more about the divine adventure God has waiting for you, pick up a copy of John Ortberg’s new book, All the Places to Go… How Will You Know?
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