Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. —Hebrews 12:9-11, NIV
Friend to Friend
As a grandmother, I can testify to the importance of gates. Our youngest grandson, Hudson, just had his first birthday and is starting to walk – but he has been a champion crawler for several months – and he loves stairs. We just happen to live in a townhouse that has three flights of stairs, much to Hudson’s delight. Oh, we buy him toys, but they are nothing more than momentary distractions from his favorite toy – the stairs.
When Hudson first learned to climb up the stairs, we bought a gate to keep him from falling down those same stairs. I wondered how he would react to his new confinement. It didn’t take long to find out. When our daughter dropped him off for a visit and Hudson played with the toys I keep for him downstairs in the living room.
After a few minutes, his sparkling blue eyes caught mine, and I knew what was about to happen. Yep! He made a mad dash for the stairs. Halfway up, he looked back at me with a mischievous smile as if to ask, “Are you coming, Mimi?” Laughing, I scrambled up the stairs behind him. When we reached the landing, I quickly scooped him up in my arms, put the gate in place and sat him on the floor to play. Hudson clapped his hands and laughed … until he saw the gate.
With a look of suspicion and doubt … definitely doubt … Hudson reached out to touch the wall now separating him from his beloved stairs. He glanced back at me and seemed to ask, “What have you done, Mimi?”
I tried to play the gate up as a good thing that was for his safety and protection, but Hudson was not buying one word of my cheery explanation. His chubby little hands tentatively grasped the gate as he pulled himself to his feet for a closer inspection. I watched as our precious grandson peered through the bars of the gate to the stairs below. He then turned to stare at me in disbelief and promptly burst into tears. He was not done. He pulled and pushed the gate with every ounce of toddler strength he could muster, wailing in anger and frustration as he tried to dislodge his prison wall. Hudson made it crystal clear that he is not a fan of gates.
I tend to react the same way to the gates God places in my life.
I have a plan – one that I think is right. I like my plan and don’t really see the need to bother God with the details of that plan. After all, my plan is logical and could even be described as good since it fits within the parameters of Scripture. It must be His will for my life, right? So I scramble through the steps of my plan until I run smack dab into a wall or, as Hudson would call it, a gate. My first reaction is suspicion and doubt – definitely doubt – and I quickly conclude that Satan must have placed the gate there.
I try everything within my human strength to knock down the barrier to my beloved plan. The gate does not move. Frustration and anger fill my heart as I cry out to God, pleading for Him to remove the unwanted obstacle from my path. It is then that He takes me in His arms and gently explains, “Child, the gate is for your good. It is for your protection and safety.”
When will I understand that God’s plan for my life is higher and better than any plan I can possibly imagine? When will I learn to wholly trust Him? When will I realize just how much He loves me? When I look back over my life, I cannot count the number of times I first considered a closed door to be the work of Satan, only to discover it was really the hand of God protecting me or keeping me from making a terrible mistake.
How about you? Has God closed a door that you thought was the perfect opportunity? Has He placed a gate across the path that you thought was so right? Trust Him. Wait on Him. He is at work in your life.
Father, I come to You today, choosing to trust You. Thank You for the perfect and amazing plan You have for my life. Help me learn to trust You more. Teach me how to praise You for the doors You have closed – as well as the ones You have opened. Today, I rest in Your unfailing love for me and lean wholly on You.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Look back over your life. Pinpoint five “gates” God placed in your path that you now see are for your good. Record them in your journal. Thank God for each one.
Read and memorize Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.” Record this verse in your journal. Circle all of the action words. Which ones of these actions do you need to take? I would love to hear how God increases your faith. Email me or share your story on my Facebook page.
More from the Girlfriends:
Need help finding God’s plan for your life? Check out Mary’s new E-Book Bible Study, It’s Never Too Late to Be Great. And be sure to check out Mary’s NEW weekly Online Bible Study, From a Mess to a Miracle, beginning July 8. Enroll now and have access to all 2013 lessons.