Some of God’s best miracles happen behind closed doors. Jesus instructed his disciples to go into their room and shut the door when they prayed. Their Father, who “sees in secret,” would reward them, He promised. We may discover that God gives strength when we’re out of sight. Hidden from people. Away from distractions.
I’m glad you’ve joined 21 Days of Strength. We’re taking a look at some of the ways God empowers us. But occasionally, He puts us behind a closed door to not just to strengthen us, but to protect us from a situation that is about to get dangerous.
Sometimes, when God plans to judge sin, He tells us to shut the door to protect us from His wrath. “Wait a minute,” you may be saying. “You mean God judges sin here and now—not just in eternity?” You bet. In fact, the Bible is filled with examples of people whose hearts grew so hard that they eventually got what was coming to them in this life. In real time. And in eternity.
Think about the massive flood during the days of Noah. Or the incineration of Sodom and Gomorroah. Or the 40 laps around the wilderness for those Israelites who refused to trust God—even after all the miracles they had witnessed. The Apostle Paul reminds us that these things happened as “examples and warnings” to us. (1 Corinthians 10:11).
Let’s look at God’s instructions to the children of Israel while slaves in Egypt. “Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning” (Exodus 12:20-22). In other words, “Shut the door and stay put!”
God was about to do two very dramatic things:
- First, He was about to judge the Egyptians for their refusal to heed His repeated warnings to release the Jews. He sent a destroying angel to strike down the firstborn son of each Egyptian home, passing over those homes that had blood on their door. The children of Israel could finally leave after hundreds of years of slavery—and begin their journey to the Promised Land.
- Second, He provided the Israelites with an important foreshadowing of the redemption which would take place though the coming Messiah. The blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus, would bring forgiveness of sin and protect people from God’s wrath forever.
Remember: God may shut the door–for a season–to protect us. The prophet Isaiah said it this way: “Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until His wrath has passed by. See, the Lord is coming out of His dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins” (Isaiah 26:20-21).
My friend, are you discouraged by that “shut door” in your life? God seems to have knocked you off course in a relationship. Or a plan. Or a dearly-held dream. But as my husband is fond of saying, “Rejection is God’s protection.” God may take us out of the game when He’s preparing to “take care of business.” He sometimes strengthens us by shielding us while He cleans up a mess that’s not of our making.
So be patient. Seek the Lord. Use this time to grow strong. To prepare for the purpose that awaits you as soon as this storm is over. And don’t forget to look for miracles behind closed doors.
Leave a comment | tags: dreams, hope, Passover, protection, strength | posted in Arm Yourself with Spiritual Strength, finding strength, wait training
The belief that germs caused disease was considered “ridiculous fiction” by many scientists in the late 1800’s. Louis Pasteur and others finally convinced the medical world that many diseases were caused by microorganisms, too small to see, which invaded the body. That understanding of the link between germs and disease led to a simple, but life-saving practice. Doctors began washing their hands to avoid spreading germs from patient to patient. Disease dramatically dropped.
I wonder if keeping watch, along with our practice of daily prayer and Bible reading, is somewhat like washing our hands. It protects us from spiritual enemies we can’t see with our natural eyes. It’s daily. It’s a discipline. It’s usually not dramatic. We can’t even see the germs we’re guarding against. Yet, remaining watchful and alert may protect us from unseen spiritual invaders.
As we roll into Day Sixteen of our 21 Day Watch, I’d like to think that our increased alertness has made us more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and warnings. That we’ve been protected from enemies we may never see.
God doesn’t usually let us see into the invisible world. That suits me just fine. I have a feeling if we could see the evil forces still crawling the earth, we’d be terrified. But He does show us how to guard ourselves against what the Bible refers to as the “powers and principalities of the air.” He reminds us: Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
A dear friend of mine is head of a powerful ministry in Africa. One day, I was prompted to pray for my friend. His life is often on the line as he takes the gospel into dangerous places. I mentioned to him a couple of days later that I had prayed for him on a specific day. “That’s intriguing,” he replied. “Because the day after you prayed, the building where our headquarters is located was broken into at 3am in the morning. Every business in that building had their offices ransacked and lost all their equipment. But for some reason, our headquarters wasn’t even touched.” Then he smiled, “Now that’s what I call preventive prayer!”
Preventive prayer. I like that term. What if our prayers, no matter how seemingly insignificant, may be guarding against evil invasions or protecting someone we love? What if our watchfulness makes us more alert to hear God’s whispers and sensitive to His nudges to pray? Friends, there’s no such thing as a small prayer.
Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-12)
1 Comment | tags: Ephesians 6, faith, preventive prayer, protection, spiritual warfare | posted in Answer God’s Call, Arm Yourself with Spiritual Strength, Be Specific when You Ask, Wake Up and Pray! Be Alert
How did my car keys get there? I wondered. The keys, barely visible, were lodged under the bathroom cabinet. I happened to notice them as I was getting ready for the day. What a weird place. They must have fallen out of my purse the night before. And then it dawned on me. Because I had seen the keys, I saved myself the panic of a frantic, last minute lost key search. And since they had fallen in such an odd location, it could have taken days to find them. I don’t have a spare set, so I was especially glad I noticed the keys before I actually needed them.
We’re on Day Six of our 21 Day Watch. Like you, I’ve been on the lookout for signs of God at work. I’m becoming more mindful of the tiny ways He is involved in my daily life. Perhaps this was the Lord providing assistance and preventing a stressful situation, so I breathed a quick prayer of thanks.
Lost keys. Such an insignificant problem when the weight of the world looms so large. But small things matter to God. And answers to prayer, however tiny, build my trust. Trust strengthens relationship. And God, like any good earthly parent, cares deeply about the relationship with His children.
Daily watchfulness. Attentiveness to prayer. These simple practices can open our eyes to signs of God at work that we could otherwise miss. But the real truth is that we’re probably protected by God every day and spared from problems and dangers in ways we’ll never know…until we get to heaven.
I’d like to become more sensitive to the ways God is helping me now—noticing things I could miss if I’m not watching. Finding my car keys in a crazy spot sounds so ordinary. But this little incident made me more mindful to stay alert. More committed to spending time alone with God each day. More watchful and more thankful for His work in my life.
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4:2)
Leave a comment | tags: 21 Day Watch, faith, God in the ordinary, lost car keys, prayer, protection, trust | posted in Wake Up and Pray! Be Alert