In difficult circumstances, God shifts our perspectives to enter peace when we seek to hear Him.
We. can hear God through circumstance. God speaks through open doors or closed doors. As missionaries, we often hear God this way.
For example, in Acts 16:6-7, Paul was trying to travel to different places, but the door was closed for speaking in every place that he went. They concluded that God was the one who had directed them not to go:
The Macedonian Call
6 And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.
Recently, my friend shared this testimony. Her family desired to move from the east coast to a city on the west coast for few obvious reasons. All her families were there. However, there were no open doors regarding houses available to buy after much prayer. They have tried for a long time. They decided to take a road trip through Arizona. They felt that God was leading them to stay in Arizona. Open opportunities for jobs, a place to stay, and a church they like further confirmed God’s leading for them to relocate to Arizona. In this case, they heard God’s voice through circumstances – closed door and open door.
We need to avoid two extreme cases when we hear God through circumstances. One is overly spiritualizing the circumstances:
I had this experience in Hong Kong. I scheduled to go to another Asia country for a ministry meeting. I had my ticket. On the day of travel, I could not get a taxi from my home to the airport. Finally, I was able to get one – it was 40 minutes to boarding when I arrived at the airport. I was not allowed to check-in. I was so desponded and called my ministry leader. She said that I missed God’s timing, which was even more devastating.
One year after that event, I realized that it was for my blessings that I missed that ministry meeting. There was a lot of fight, argument in that meeting. God stopped me from being part of it.
The second is mistaking resistance as closed doors.
Many years ago, my husband was sent to teach a praying walking class in the middle east. His trip route was shanghai –> Guangzhou –> a country in the middle east. However, there was no flight out of Guangzhou. He lost his luggage. He stayed in Guangzhou for two days. I was organizing our friends praying for his trip. There, he heard from God that he was to pray for the city of Guangzhou. God’s voice quieted his anxiety. Despite being two days late to his destination, he had one of the most fruitful trips ever. Through prayer and seeking to hear God, he did not take the resistance in Guangzhou as a closed door.
I think that praying during the resistance helped him to discern God’s voice.
God speaks through circumstances. In difficult circumstances, He shifts our perspectives to enter peace when we seek to hear Him. We need to avoid two extreme cases: over-spiritualize circumstances or mistaking resistance with closed doors to hear Him clearly. I pray that you seek God to hear Him through your circumstances this week.
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