In 2007 West Nile Neurological Disease removed the Preacher from full-time ministry as a member of the clergy. But following a period of rehabilitation, Sunday mornings often still found him preaching in various pulpits temporarily or permanently without pastors.
Until COVID-19 closed the church doors, that is. He misses delivering sermons (and I miss my favourite preacher.) However, like many other regular church attendees, we’ve enjoyed “couch church” and the messages of other pastors whose services allow online viewing.
A few weeks ago, we tuned in to a favourite author and pastor, Charles Swindoll, as, via YouTube, he delivered a message titled “The Magnificence of a Closed Door.” The title seemed appropriate. Around the globe, COVID-19 has slammed door after door; not just church doors, but life doors for individuals, businesses and organizations.
Almost daily I speak with someone on the verge of despair. Even as our part of the world creeps back toward a more open way of doing life alongside the pandemic, many know they’ll never get back what they had a few short months ago. For those people, gone are countless wide vistas of opportunity and success. Hard-earned dollars, in the form of investments or earnings or potential earnings, have vanished too. Most heartbreaking of all, many have lost loved ones to the disease. This coronavirus has left no one, it seems, unscathed.
We all need regular reminders that God has not abandoned us. That he is still present. Still caring. And still in charge, even when it seems otherwise. We need to remember those truths even more now.
I took notes during Pastor Swindoll’s sermon. I thought I’d share them here. If you find yourself, as a Christ-follower, mourning losses from which you fear you’ll never recover, opportunities that have blown away like so many dandelion seeds in the wind, these notes from Pastor Chuck Swindoll are for you:
1. Since God is sovereign, he is in full control of all the doors in our lives – and we are not.
2. Being in full control, he takes full responsibility for all the doors he opens and all the doors he closes. (Stop crying, manipulating, being creative in trying to outsmart him. Stop lamenting. You are not responsible.)
3. When a door of something good in our plan closes, it often leads us to an open door of something better in his plan.
4. Not until we walk through the doors God opens, will we realize the necessity of the ones he closed. God is FULL of surprises.
Wherever you are today, whatever fills your spirit, remember these things. In Jesus’ name, I pray you strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow.