The Still Small Voice

The Power of Discernment: Doors opening: stay inside!


Chapter Six, Part Nine


Doors opening: stay inside!

When I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia. (2 Corinthians 2:12-13)

When the elevator stops, the automated voice announces: ‘Doors opening’ and we duly prepare to step out. Except that sometimes we may not be meant to get out at this particular floor. What happens, for example, if you are blessed to have a whole range of possibilities to choose from? It is patently not enough to reduce our quest for guidance to waiting to see whether a particular door opens up, because several may already have done so for us – in which case we need to know which one is the best.

In the quote above, Paul was clearly experiencing an ‘open door’ in Troas. People were hanging onto his words and paying him well – so why not settle down and enjoy the luxury limousine? ‘Come and hear Pastor Paul’ sounds a decidedly better proposition than ‘Go and visit Prisoner Paul!’

Paul knew, however, that the Lord had called him to work with Titus. Because Titus wasn’t there, he forsook the pleasant open door and set off on an obstacle-strewn pilgrimage to Macedonia.

If the Lord has something richer in mind, may we have the courage not to settle for second best! When I first moved to the Paris region, I attended a traditional local church. It was immensely unexciting, but I felt a certain loyalty to it, simply because it was close to where I lived. The time came when I knew I had to overcome my feelings and venture further afield. The Lord began immediately to do the most remarkable things. If I had allowed a false sense of duty to limit me, many wonderful things would never have happened.

For Reflection and Prayer

Immediately before we embark on a difficult calling, a door may open that appears to offer us an easier course of action. It pays to be careful. Is this door really of God? Since the same word is used in both Greek and Hebrew for ‘tempt,’ ‘test’ and ‘try,’ there are several possibilities. When the devil is tempting us, the Lord may be testing us, and our souls are being tried. May the Lord give us the courage to choose the highest way forward rather than settling for the ‘easiest.’

Lord, set me free from the scars of such abuse.

Show me too where I am guilty of controlling others.

Make me one who steers people closer to You
rather than making them dependent on me.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.