Thought For Today

I am so glad that you have found this site and I hope you will find encouragement and joy as you read through my thoughts on God, family and life.

Friday, December 8, 2017

When Heaven's Gate Seems to be Closed

Have you ever prayed for something and nothing seemed to happen? When this occurs, do you ever wonder if God is refusing to listen to your pleas?
I woke up this morning feeling that way about my prayers that I placed before God these last several weeks, and  nothing seemed to be happening. The thought went through my mind, "Could it be that heaven's doors do in fact close at times?"

As I sat in the darkness before the fire that I made, early this

morning, I prayed, "Lord, I believe, please help me with my unbelief!" I then recalled the story of a pleading father in the Bible who asked Jesus to heal his child by saying, "If you can, heal my child." Jesus responded by saying, "If I can? Anything is possible for those who believe!" The father's response, "I believe, please help my unbelief?" was exactly where I was at this morning.

Each day I read my devotions from the Bible in sequence, book by book, chapter by chapter. Today I did not want to open my Bible to read God's word. Call it being stubborn, call it a lack of faith, I just couldn't do it. Then I recalled from my past, "When it is the hardest time to open God's word, it is this time that I need to do it the most." So, I opened the scripture to the beginning of Matthew and read the account of Jesus' birth. In reading the passages of Joseph, I saw that he was going to divorce Mary in private, not wanting her to suffer humiliation by her relatives and community. Then I perceived as I read, Joseph must have been devastated, his dreams of marriage to Mary were dashed along with his planned future. His embarrassment he would have to face along with an empty uncertain future. This changed for him when an angel appeared in a dream and he was told that he must marry Mary and that God was going to change the world by Mary's unplanned birth. God had different plans than Joseph and God's plans were much greater than his.

A king was to be born, not in a palace, but a humble stable,
another event that Joseph had not planned nor accounted for. Next, his fleeing with Mary and the infant Jesus to Egypt was another event that he had not planned for or for that matter, one Joseph was not looking forward to.

After king Herod's death he was told he could return to Israel, but he could not go home, it was to be Nazareth instead of Bethlehem. This was not the town that Joseph had hoped to live in I am sure. In Joseph's day the term, "Nazarene" was virtually a synonym for "despised" as recorded in John 1:45-46. What went through my mind as I was reading these passages is what Joseph might have thought, "What is God thinking, for him to send us to this horrid place?"
Another plan that Joseph had not accounted for or even wanted. In pondering this further, it was a perfect place for Jesus, a place where no one wanted to be or exercise any treacherous and revengeful influence, such as "Archelaus" the son of Herod the dead king. In all this, God had a plan, it was not what Joseph had in mind I am sure, but Joseph was willing to listen and obey God. Through his obedience, Joseph exercised his faith.
After reading this I realized, "Can I do no less by waiting on God when there is silence from heaven's gate?" God was showing me that when reading this account of Joseph, that he is working even when it appears that nothing is happening, and my obedience is to wait on "His" plans to unfold. I am beginning to realize that God is not "Testing" my faith so much as he is causing it to increase. Without the opportunity in waiting and trusting in God's plan, faith cannot in fact grow. After my reluctance in reading the scripture this morning, I now see that Jesus was in fact answering my prayer, "Lord I believe, help my unbelief."