published Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Faith Focus: Searching for those open doors

By Pastor Bo Wagner

My sense of direction is so poor that it has, among those that know me, reached epic proportions. It has also become a running joke between my children and I.

Whenever they travel with me, they will inevitably ask if I know how to get there. I will then reel off this list that has grown one title at a time through the years: “I am a geographical genius, a waymaking wonder, a path-finding prodigy, a champion of the compass, and a home-finding hero.”

They will groan, and then we will all hope for the best. Sometimes, though, it just doesn’t work out.

A while back, I had to make a visit to a large hospital. It is in two sections, and I normally go to the first section. This time, though, I was in the second large building. On the way back down the elevator, I forgot that, and went down to the floor that I thought I should have gotten off on. I absentmindedly stepped off the elevator, and it closed behind me. It was only then that I realized that I was in a restricted area. I turned to get back on the elevator and found that I had to have an employee key card to get it open from that side.

I made my way down random halls and finally found a door leading to the outside. But when I got outside I realized I was in an employee parking lot that I had never seen before. I turned to go back inside … and once again found out that I had to have an employee key card to do so.

Panicking, I used my cellphone to call my wife, who had gone with me to the hospital and was waiting in the car. I asked her, “Where am I?” She replied, “How am I supposed to know where you are?” I said, “Well, drive around the hospital and beep the horn, and I’m going to try to find a way to escape this parking lot and find you.”

I climbed a hill, squeezed through an opening in the fence and, in the distance, heard the plaintive beeping of our little Saturn. Soon, mercifully, we found each other, and added yet another chapter to my directionally challenged legacy. Yes, I slunk down in the front seat as we drove away, hoping to avoid being recognized.

I thought of this recently in regards to particular passage of Scripture. Revelation 3:8 says “I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it…” That was a promise that Jesus made to a particular church, and it is a promise that in many ways applies to every good church today. I could not seem to find an open door when I needed it. But when it comes to the work of the Lord, God has given us an open door, and no man can shut it. No one can stop us from evangelizing, no one can stop us from edifying one another, no one can stop us from expecting the return of the Lord.

But the placement of that door is of particular interest. God specifically noted that he set that door in front of them, not behind them. Our church recently celebrated its 17-year anniversary. On that day I told my church, “We have no doors behind us. All we have behind us are windows. It is wonderful to look back through those windows and see where we have been, but all of the open doors are in front of us.”

Child of God, never make the mistake of fixating on the past. Whether the past was good or bad or a mixture of both, it is fine to look back through the window, remember what was there, and either praise God for it or learn lessons from it. But God has placed amazing opportunities out there for us. And all of them are ahead of us. Don’t worry about the windows that are behind you today, the only thing you really need to focus on is the open doors that God has placed ahead of you.

Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, N.C., and the author of several books, which are available at www.wordofhismouth.com. Contact him at 2knowhim@cbc-web.org.

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