By Denae Jones –
It’s graduation season, and the beginning of spring. New doors are opening, and it’s time for celebrating new beginnings! When names are called and graduates walk across the stage, there is usually a long list of achievements, goals, and plans that follow them. They seem to have it all together, all planned out, and know exactly what path they will be taking to make their dreams a reality, and everyone is so excited for them. And rightly so! They have worked hard, and deserve every bit of that applause.
But what if you are the graduate who has no idea what you want to do? I mean, if we’re being honest, it really is a little unrealistic to ask a 17 year old to know what they want to do for the rest of their life. Or, what if you are that graduate who knows exactly what you want to do, but feel you have no means to accomplish it? Maybe you didn’t get the job you thought you were going to get. Maybe you didn’t get that big scholarship you were counting on, or maybe you didn’t get accepted to the school you had your heart set on attending. What if you feel like doors are being closed, and not opened?
I keep seeing graduation announcements and shirts that have the verse from Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” That’s great! However, some graduates might be wondering when God is going to let them in on His secret, because none of their plans seem to be working out.
Here’s the thing. God DOES have wonderful plans for our lives, but consider this. Sometimes when a door closes, it might be God holding it shut.
At one time or another, haven’t we all been told ‘no’ by our parents, and they say it’s for our own good? That’s because they aren’t just thinking about that one thing we want to do right now. They are seeing the bigger picture. They are seeing how one bad choice could jeopardize our future. Parents are generally more concerned about our character than our comfort.
Sometimes we have tunnel vision. We only see what is right in front of us, and what we want to do right now. We tend to lean toward what is easiest or most rewarding in the short term. But maybe, just maybe, it’s not the best for us in the long term. That’s the part God sees that we can’t.
Maybe that job we lost, or that loan that didn’t close, or that school that didn’t accept us, or that opportunity that passed us up happened for a reason. Maybe God closed that door for our protection. Maybe our tunnel vision was just one piece of the puzzle and didn’t allow us to see His completed picture, where all the pieces come together perfectly.
One of my best friends prayed and prayed and prayed for a child, and for nearly 10 years, it never happened. As I kept getting pregnant and having more babies, she kept suffering one heartbreak after another. She was faithful. She prayed continually. She didn’t understand why she was doing everything right and God wasn’t answering her prayers. She was so angry with Him at the time, but now understands that she was seeing with tunnel vision.
God’s timing was not her timing, but eventually revealed an exquisite picture. She and her husband adopted three beautiful children out of the foster care system who desperately needed a family to love them. Not only were their prayers answered to be parents, but they were the answer to the prayers of three children. I could fill this newspaper with stories about how all of their lives were changed for the better.
Now they are advocates to other parents adopting through the foster care system. If their prayer was answered the first time, and they would have had children of their own, they probably would not have even considered foster care. God’s ways are so far above our ways!
If you feel like doors are being closed when you thought they would be opened, remember that God’s picture may not be painted in a day. But we have to put our trust in Him and wait for His timing. (That’s the hard part.) His plan for our future will always be one that will help us prosper. Not harm us. Give us hope.
Congratulations to all of the graduates out there!
Have a blessed week, friends.