When I was exploring and testing the stirring in my soul to abandon my career, the comfort of my community, and the fellowship of my church in order to possibly serve with To Every Tribe, I made a seemingly “christianese” comment to a highly respected theologian friend of mind. Little did I know that his encouraging rebuke would change my perspective on how I move forward in life. As I surveyed the landscape of risks and rewards of such reckless radical abandon for the sake of the gospel, I simply said, “If the Lord opens the doors, I will go.” My friend’s octavian Dutch brow furled and he gave a small growl before he said in a mocking manner, “I am so sick of hearing Christians talk that way, ‘if He opens a door, I will go.'” Then with a deep rich tone of authority he bellowed “Go, and let God stop you.” At that moment, I envisioned God had a heavy Dutch accent.
This statement by Dr. Krabbendam, Professor of Biblical Studies Emeritus at Covenant College, rattled all my previous notions of how God leads. He explained that God can open doors, but God certainly has the power to stop us as well. Too many Christians wait rather than going and allowing God to stop them.
Dr. Krabbendam’s voice echoed in my head for days. I had always been a “wait and see what God is needing of me” Christian. As I have begun to see how many doors have been opened around me that I have never gone through or given a second glance, I now ask myself: why did I not go through doors God had already opened for me?
I can see now that I had neglected going through doors out of fear, pride, and thinking the reward wasn’t worth the risk. How I grieve, even while I write this, the times I had justified that a door had not been open when it actually was. Looking back, I believe there were times that if I had gone through a certain door, God would not have stopped me. I take comfort in the fact that sometimes, like Jonah, God gets us where we need to be in spite of ourselves.
I’m hoping that you are encouraged to go and let God stop you. It is an exhilarating journey in faith to test what it means to live recklessly and radically abandoned for Christ and to see and experience the goodness of God. Doors are open… will you go?
This article was featured in To Every Tribe’s September 2015 edition of Ekballo Magazine.