by Adam Kronberger / Superintendent
There exists an unspoken law of the universe that whichever checkout line you choose at the grocery store, the one you choose will always be the slowest. The corollary to this law is that if you change lines midcourse, you will only find a slower line. Unless of course you don’t change lines but only think about it, then the line you had considered but did not move to will move at warp speed. To ease my frustration, I have decided to pick out my favorite checker (Zach), and simply go to his line every time. I enjoy seeing a familiar face, and despite any delay, I feel less like a grocery line victim, and more like a grocery line victor.
Followers of Jesus often use the catchphrases of “open door” or “closed door” when trying to make a decision. Even after a decision has been made, “doors” are considered to either stay the course or change course. Much like the grocery checkout line, it is difficult to stay put when your line seems to be fraught with delays. You are discouraged as you feel like you made the wrong decision and can feel certain that any other decision (line) is now a better one. Circumstances we label as “open doors” or “closed doors” are often used to dictate the next plan of action.
I doubt the apostle Paul has much experience with modern-day checkout lines, but he certainly understood the concept of “open doors” and “closed doors”. In I Corinthians 16:9, Paul decides to continue His ministry in Ephesus rather than moving on because “a wide door for effective work has opened to me.” He had made a decision and was sticking to it. It was his lucky day. It appears he had found the uncommon speedy checkout line. But the latter part of the same verse describes “AND there are many adversaries.” Now that doesn’t sound like a typical “open door” to me. When I define circumstances as an “open door”, it comes with a different AND. Such as AND my life will be easier and more comfortable, AND I will be safe and experience success, AND I will check out my groceries and get home before midnight.
Yet it appears that Paul’s “open door” was open BECAUSE there were adversaries. The enemies of this world and the dark spiritual forces are adversarial to the cause of Christ. In fact, we should expect these adversaries more often than not when walking through the doors God opens for us. While not necessarily a promise, this idea is a principle that should govern our lives and the lives of our children. Adverse circumstances are often necessary to build perseverance, compassion, courage, patience, and self-discipline. And adverse circumstances need people of character to shine the love and truth of Jesus Christ. So next time you are adversely affected by a slow checkout line, consider other “open doors” of adversity God wants you and your family to walk through and take the time to pray for the passion of Paul.
– Adam Kronberger / Superintendent