Life is full of doors. Doors of opportunity, doors of service, doors of adventure. So many choices, so many decisions, but how do we know which doors are the right ones to go through? After all, the decisions to ‘stay’ or ‘go’ into different situations will determine the type of life we’ll lead and the type of person we’ll become. In his new book All the Places to Go . . . How Will You Know?: God Has Placed Before You an Open Door. What Will You Do? John Ortberg has taken us through a process of seeing open doors as an exciting part of our walk with God.
“An open door is the great adventure of life because it means the possibility of being useful to God. The offer of it and our response to it, is the subject of this book”
In a very conversational style, Ortberg makes a logical case as to why we need to change our thinking about doors of opportunity and how we can do that.
“Every morning is an open door; every moment can become one. Some of us see the doors and seize them, and so life becomes a divine adventure. Some of us shrink back or fail to see. A room with no door is a prison. To fail to embrace the open door is to miss the work God has made for us to do. If we want to experience more of the spirit of God in our lives, we need to train ourselves to look for and resond to moments of divine opportunity”
Sometimes we can feel like only the talented or super-spiritual people can be called to do great things for God. This could not be further from the truth. The bible is full of examples of people who went through open doors because they felt it was the right thing to do, not because they believed they were anything special. Ortberg draws this out in the example of Ruth.
“Ruth has no idea, but the choice she made is going to open a door for her to become part of a story larger than she dreams. Her name will be remembered for millennia. She will become a role model and a prayer: ‘May you be like Ruth and Esther’. But she did not choose to go with Naomi for any of these reasons. She just chose the opportunity to love”.
In the normal everyday routine of work, kids, laundry, groceries, church etc we can easily miss doors of opportunity that are being opened to us and we can also feel confused as to which opportunities to avail of, when we are given more than one choice. Sometimes we may want to go through big open doors that are public and can be seen by those around us. But until we can be humble enough to go through the small doors, serve the Lord in what we discern as humble ways, we will never be capable of going through a big door of opportunity.
“Do not despise the day of small things. For that, too, is the day the Lord has made. And that is where we find him.”
There can be an illusion that going through an open door, following God’s leading can always lead to amazing and joyful experiences. This is not always the case. An open door does not promise an easy life.
“In fact, when God calls people to go through open doors, what generally happens is life gets much harder. Abraham leaves home and faces uncertainty and danger. Moses has to confront Pharaoh and endure endless whinging from his own people. Elijah runs away from a power-crazed queen. Esther has to risk her life to prevent genocide. The entire book of Nehemiah is arranged around resistance to Nehemiah’s work that is both external and internal”
This book has given a lot of perspective on life and the opportunities I am presented with everyday. It has challenged my thinking more than it has encouraged me, to be honest. But a little bit of a challenge is good for the soul. If you have already read this book, I would love to hear what you think of it!