Signs and Circumstances (or Open Doors)

Some thoughts on decision-making (Thanks, AC) . . .

There is a tendency among followers of Christ to look at our circumstances in order to determine God’s direction/will/leading. I think this is a mistake–one that I, too, have often made.  I remember when I chose a university.  I didn’t ask for His guidance independent of circumstances.  Instead, I went to the school that gave me the most scholarship money.  I took that circumstance as a “sign” indicating God’s will.  In His generosity and love, God used my circumstances to point me in His direction, but my spiritual immaturity made that necessary.

I was like Gideon:  “If this is what you want me to do, give me this certain sign.”  God did it.  Gideon responded, “Well . . . I’m still not sure.  Now do the opposite.”  God did it (paraphrase of Judges 6:36-40).  Who are we to treat the Almighty Creator of the Universe like a servant at our beck-and-call?  God had already promised to deliver Israel.  Why did Gideon need more?

If you unwrap these give-me-a-sign prayers, what you get is, “God, I want you to make obedience really easy and obvious for me.  In fact, if I could just fall into it, that would be great.”  What people say afterwards (sounding so very spiritual) is:  “Well, God opened the door for me, so I walked through it.”


Maybe God just opened the door to show you what was on the other side.  Maybe it wasn’t His plan for you to go in (or out).

Maybe the wind blew the door open.  Pure circumstance.

Maybe someone else opened the door because they think they know what’s best for you.

Maybe the door that you are supposed to go through is like those automatic doors at Wal-Mart, and you need to start walking toward it before it will open.

Maybe you need to grab hold of that door handle yourself, give it a big shove, and stumble into whatever is next for you.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit . . . will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you (John 14:26).  It’s not as easy or obvious, but the Holy Spirit WILL direct us in every decision.  Instead of trusting Him, however, we stand motionless in this big room full of doors, waiting on God to be our butler.

4 thoughts on “Signs and Circumstances (or Open Doors)

  1. Francis Chan in _Crazy Love_ (pg. 169): “Most of us use ‘I’m waiting on God to reveal His calling on my life’ as a means of avoiding action. Did you hear God calling you to sit in front of the television yesterday? Or to go on your last vacation? Or exercise this morning? Probably not, but you still did it.”


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