The "Stops" of a Righteous Man
When I was northeastern Spain recently, I was fascinated by the many doorframes I saw in a medieval city that were bricked up and closed off. They were interesting to me, both architecturally and historically. In a city over a thousand years old, at some point that archway opened up to a home or an alley or a possibility that no longer exists.
God ordains the steps of a righteous man. He ordains the “stops” too.
I read this recently in a little meme on the internet, and it struck me as a reality I’ve seen in my own life more than once. As Christians, we believe that God ordains our steps, and we have great trust in the God who holds our future. He is our provider, our “way maker,” and so much more. But the God who opens doors before us is also the God who sometimes shuts the doors. And in the moment when God stops us in the pathway of our life, it sometimes feels as though we’ve made a mistake, or that God has somehow just abandoned us. We may feel as though we’ve missed His will or lost the covering of His favor. What was once an attractive open doorway leading to exciting possibilities is now decidedly bricked up and closed off.
I can remember working on staff of a church that closed its doors. That was devastating. It felt like a failure in many ways. But it was part of the path of my life where God led me back to Europe, where I serve God as a missionary to this day. I have lost jobs, ended relationships, and been rejected from certain opportunities—all of which were painful and confusing at the moment. With time and perspective, I know that God used those closed doors every time to lead me further in His plan, and His plan was ultimately for my GOOD. But when you feel the “stop” of the Lord, it can be disheartening.
The older I get, and the more I serve the Lord, the more I can appreciate the depth of trust it takes to pray as Job did, "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” To believe He orders my steps is easy and even exciting. To accept the “stops” of the Lord is much harder. But it is in those very stops that He opens up the better way and leads us ever closer to Him.