Have you ever begun to go in a certain direction only to run into a closed door? There are times when we think we’re on track; we pray about a situation and are not sure of God’s will so we move forward assuming if He wants to redirect, He will close the door. That happened twice to me in one week.
I had met Pam in the jail where I do ministry on Sundays. Later, she was transferred to a woman’s prison in Indy. Pam was a unique soul with whom I had invested time and felt she would be one of the few who had made a sincere commitment to the Lord. She was very focused on developing her relationship with Him. So, when we went camping last week and passed right through Indy, I hoped to stop by to see her on our way to the campground on Tuesday. Since I had applied for visitation a month and a half before, I was sure that would work. But when I called the prison, I learned that the only day they did not allow visitors was Tuesdays.
Hmmm, I thought, is that God closing a door? Not to worry, I would just stop on the way home on Friday. I had written to Pam telling her I would visit on Friday afternoon.
Nevertheless, I decided to pray about it and told the Lord that if it was not His will for me to visit her, to please close the door. On Friday, as we passed through Indy, Bill dropped me off for a visit. As the guard looked for my application, he informed me that it had not been processed yet. Forty–five days and it was not yet in the system. He graciously called his supervisor who also confirmed that I could not visit. Ok, I thought, I guess God did not want me to visit her. Interestingly, I was not disappointed. I recognized that it was God who was closing the door. He was answering my prayer and I felt He was protecting me.
Another incident in the LaGrange jail… I had been spending time with Tonya. She was scheduled to be released Wednesday but explained to me that she didn’t have anyone to pick her up and take her to a friend’s house in Shipsy. She also hadn’t heard back whether her friend could take her in for a few days until her family could arrange a ride for her to their home several hours away. Things were up in the air so I volunteered to pick her up at the courthouse where she would walk to from the jail to meet her probation officer.
I was stressed and worried about my decision to pick her up because what if she hadn’t found a place to stay? What would I do with her? I couldn’t bring her home but where could she go? I asked for the collective wisdom of my Bible study group and they gave suggestions. My pastor also said the pastor’s association would be willing to put her up in a motel a couple nights. I began to regret that I had offered a ride. Wednesday morning, I drove to the courthouse and waited in my car at the agreed time. After about twenty minutes, I phoned her probation officer who informed me that Tonya had left some time ago. Apparently, someone else must have picked her up. After fifteen more minutes, I left. Another closed door. Again, I felt God’s protection.
But God had a lesson for me to show me all my worry was for naught. Here’s what’s interesting to me. Before supposedly picking up Tonya, I stopped by the jail to see another lady, Courtney, about something we had discussed. She began telling me that God is helping her to not worry so much. Then she recited Philippians 4:6 to me, a verse she had been memorizing. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Here she was, a new believer and God was using her to minister truth to me. I almost laughed. If that weren’t enough, when I got in my car, I turned on the radio and David Jeremiah was teaching on…you guessed it….worry. God had my attention. I had worried about being responsible for Tonya for several days and here it was a no show. What did all my worry accomplish? Nothing!
David Jeremiah quoted someone who said this: I’m an old woman now and I’ve had many troubles in my life but most of them never happened.