My co-worker sat, shoulders slumping, staring at the computer monitor. He mumbled repetitively at the screen the way only programmers can. Dumb thing. Why are you doing this to me? Dumb thing.
Whats wrong?" I asked.
Still staring at the computer he replied, Were trying to send off that big email to 10,000 people and things arent cooperating. First it crashed, and now weve found out that we got the wrong data from the database and about half of the addresses are no good. Now weve got to figure out which ones actually got sent, and which ones were the good addresses and its all just a big mess! He gave a light slap to the side of the monitor for emphasis.
I looked over at our boss, who was smiling wryly and shaking his head slowly. This makes it official, I said smiling back. God hates spam.
You might joke about it," he said, "but every time weve tried to do a mass mailing, its been like this. Computer problems, data problems
every time its a nightmare. I think Im beginning to get the message!
Now, we might laugh about a situation like this, but I think there is an importantif somewhat painfullesson to be learned. If we want to speak of God opening doors for us, guiding us into great jobs or good decisions, we must also be prepared to think of him as a God who closes doors as well.
Sometimes things dont work out. At least, not the way we wanted. Some of our most cherished desires, our most sought-after dreams will elude us. Id love to say that wasnt true. But I know it first-hand, and Im sure you do too.
Moses knew it, as well. After years in the wilderness, he was allowed to seebut not enterthe promised land. David longed to build the temple, but that was reserved for Solomon. Paul wanted to have the thorn in the flesh removed, but he was denied relief. And in the midst of his pain, Job knew the fear and uncertainty we experience when it all seems to go wrong.
We want to see the path God has laid out for usno, actually, we want to dictate the path that God will lay out for us. But when we put our lives into his hands, when we fully commit ourselves to him, we have to understand that we may not understand. As I face day to day life, I wonder Is this Gods will? Is that Gods will? Where will all this lead? This isnt what I would expect!
I am thankful for a God that cares enough to defeat me. Selfish desires, fickle emotions, even heartfelt longings are nothing in the face of the will of the Almighty. His will is for a holy me, a spiritual me, a me full of grace and love and action. Everything else is secondary.
When I focus on my will, my heart can lie, my brain can be mistaken, my hopes and dreams can be misplaced. But everything comes around when I put the focus on his will. His Spirit draws me closer to him through every victory and every defeat.