ow many doors have closed to you since COVID-19 commenced crumpling calendars?
This summer across our denomination, mission trips, youth camps, Vacation Bible Schools, camp meetings, and the International General Assembly could not happen.
Personally, I’m counting four months of not leading Celebrate Recovery kids on Thursday nights and not teaching an adult class on Sunday mornings. Then I add two major ministry postponements: a teaching trip to Zambia and our 22nd annual Royal Family Kids Camp for children in foster care (deep sigh).
Like me, you’ve probably had to miss celebrations (graduations, weddings, birthdays), funerals, and hospital visits because of the pandemic. And I won’t try to count the day-to-day events we’ve missed in order to stay safe.
It’s easy to blame either the devil or happenstance for this season of closed doors. However, in Revelation 3:7, the Lord describes Himself as “He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens” (NKJV).
What can Jesus Christ accomplish through closed doors?
After Jesus’ crucifixion, “though the disciples were [meeting] behind barred doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, ‘Peace to you.’ After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side” (John 20:19-20 Amp).
When barred behind a door of fear, illness, unemployment, or bereavement, we should take time to meditate on the abandonment Jesus experienced. With nails impaling His hands and thorns piercing His brow, He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46 NKJV).
Because Jesus suffered on our behalf, God will not abandon us in our lonely places. When we cry out to Him in faith, we can receive His peace “which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7 NKJV).
In Acts 12, one of Jesus’ disciples, Simon Peter, is arrested for preaching the Gospel. He is bound with two chains and locked up in prison, and an executioner’s sword awaits him. King Herod is doing this to please Jerusalem’s religious leaders, but the King of kings is behind it all.
While Peter is sleeping between two soldiers, believers are holding an all-night vigil at the home of John Mark’s mother. Eventually there is a knock at the locked door. A girl named Rhoda goes to the door and hears Peter’s voice, but does not let him in!
When Rhoda announces, “Peter is knocking on the door!” the believers don’t believe her. “Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished” (v. 16 NKJV).
Peter explains, “A shining angel appeared in the prison, freed me from my chains, opened the prison door, and swung wide the city’s iron gate!”
If your service to Christ causes you to get chained up or locked down, keep trusting Him to accomplish His plan in your life.
The Glory of God
When Jesus’ friend Lazarus faced the ultimate closed door—a boulder rolled in front of his cave-tomb—“Jesus wept” (John 11:35), but He still had a plan.
Rather than going to Lazarus in time to heal him, Jesus had let him die “for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (v. 4 NKJV). Sure enough, when Jesus commanded four-days-dead Lazarus to walk out of the tomb, many of the eyewitnesses put their faith in Jesus (see v. 45).
As the Church emerges from the doors God allowed the virus to close, may we lead resurrected lives that will glorify Jesus Christ and point others to Him.
Lance Colkmire is the editor of the Evangel magazine.