For me, God has been closing doors. Doors to things that I was excited about and thought was the right thing. He closed two doors for jobs that I thought for sure I would get. He closed the door to me being involved in a ministry I was excited about. He closed the door to three major things I thought would be happening in the Fall. And so I had to stop and think, "Is God trying to tell me something?"
Three weeks ago I sat in church and listened to our pastor speak. He told us to turn to Haggai in the Bible, and I couldn't find the book. I know where Haggai is, but it took me at least 5 minutes to actually located it in my Bible. Then he read from Haggai 1:9 - "'You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?' declares the Lord Almighty. 'Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.'" I felt God speaking to me, but just tucked that little Scripture away in my heart and went on about my day.
Wednesday of that same week, I had a meeting where the final door was closed to this ministry I care so very much about. As the day went on, I began sadder about it and began to question why. That afternoon, I sat down on the couch, grabbed my other Bible, and just randomly flipped it open. It opened exactly to that SAME book, chapter and verse- the one I had such trouble finding just 3 days before. Haggai 1:9 - "'You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?' declares the Lord Almighty. 'Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.'"
In this passage, the people of Judah were busy taking care of their own houses and building their city. They had forgotten about the most important house - the house of the Lord. It was lying in ruins, surrounded by a bustling city with people too busy to stop and care. God says to them, "Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. I called for a drought on the fields and on the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands." (Haggai 1:10-11). God proceeded to tell them to focus on rebuilding the temple, and the people obeyed and got to work.
I thought about it for awhile, and then I finally got what God was trying to say to me. He was telling me that I have been so focused on doing things for Him, that I have often neglected my relationship with Him. I have spent my energy on my outside "house" all while ignoring my inside "house." Let me say that again - we can do things for God, but they can never substitute for our relationship with Him.
When we get so wrapped up in the details of our life, sometimes God will call us out. He wants to get our attention. Sometimes He allows things to happen so that we will get our eyes back on Him. Not necessarily bad things, mind you, but just everyday inconveniences that make us stop and think "what is going on here?!" He will start closing doors. Sometimes that is the only way He will get our attention. He calls us to seasons where He strips us of things that we don't need in our lives anymore, to get us back to where we need to be. It is hard, but it is worth it.
So now, instead of getting upset about these closed doors and these inconveniences (and I do still get upset sometimes), I can remember that God, in His love for me and you, cares so much that He wants to help us get our priorities straight. He wants to be first in our lives again.
We can be encouraged, because "'The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the Lord Almighty. 'And in this place I will grant peace,' declares the Lord Almighty." (Haggai 2:9).