I just wrote this email to a friend of mine who is serving Jesus in another country. He and his wife are having a challenging time with their ministry. After reading it, I thought I should share it with y’all, in case it could help you too. I have changed some of the details to hide his identity.
Overcoming the Situation or Closed Doors?
You can count on us for prayers. I know how you feel right now, because we are in a similar boat, just on a different body of water! We’ve had some major doors close here in Virginia and the last 8 months have been hard on us spiritually and emotionally too. We also feel like nothing has happened, but…
We also know that’s not true. And I hope you know that too. You are advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a part of the world that doesn’t know anything about him.
The work you are doing is making a difference, perhaps you won’t know about your work until later in Heaven. Focus on your successes, the teams that come in, the Bible studies, the missionaries that (receive the rewards of their work). They need ministering as well. This might seem minuscule to you, but (the work they do assisted us in our work in Asia and was deeply appreciated, not to mention, of great comfort to us.)
A piece of ‘merica in Thailand.
Jesus said, whoever provides a (cup of cold water) for the least of these will surely get their reward in Heaven.
Now imagine what Jesus would say about your (work)?
(Dear Reader: You’ll have to trust me on this one, it was a funny part of the email, I just can’t share the joke publicly with our blowing their identity. With that being said, remember the work you do for Jesus, it might seem minuscule to others and to you, but it is like a cold cup of water to the least of these. Jesus said that to a group of people who lived in the Middle East. That’s a major comfort for those listening to him. Don’t forget about the little things people need.)
Seriously though, your (work) is a oasis of the living water. It can be defeating to establish relationships only to watch them evaporate.
It happened to Jesus, so you know it will happen to us.
Endure the race the Lord Jesus gave you. Stories of greatness have chapters full of hardship and overcoming.
Very seldom are there stories of what happens in “the happily ever after” portion of people’s lives.
That’s what heaven is for.
With that being said, we have seasons in our lives and the Holy Spirit provides us with direction so we can determine if we need to overcome a particular thing or if doors are closed and it’s time to move on.
So with that, ask yourself: is this an “overcoming situation” or is it a “God is closing the doors” season in y’alls ministry?
We are doing this very thing right now and we know it’s a (closed door on a particular area in our lives that will be made public at a later date and if I remember, I’ll update this comment with a link to that announcement).
(Conclusion about private stuff)
If you find that you are in a similar situation and you are having a difficult time figuring out if what you are going through is an “overcoming situation” or a “closed door” season in your life, may I humbly suggest doing four things:
- Pray: Render unto God your thoughts, insights, questions, troubles, ideas, frustrations, etc. Pour your heart open to him and seek wisdom from the Holy Spirit to guide you in his answer. Ask him to search your soul and provide wisdom so you can make the right decision.
- Fast: I fast often and frankly would never want to give this spiritual discipline up. For some reason, when you fast, pray and seek God, wonderfully strange things happen in supernatural ways. This doesn’t mean you get what you want, but it does mean you will get God’s answer. Key word is “God’s answer” and not “your answer”.
- Seek Godly Counsel: You know who these people are in your life. You might not be best friends with them, but they will give you the wisdom and answers that you need to hear as opposed to what you want to hear.
- Be Still: Remember Elijah was waiting on God on Mount Horeb and there was a great wind, a great earthquake and a fire, yet God wasn’t in the wind, earthquake or the fire, but it was in a “still small voice” that God spoke. No loud cymbals, announcement or a cleverly edited video.
Just a still small voice on a lonely mountain calling out to Elijah and asking the prophet, “What are you doing here?”