“If I hadn’t been on board, I would have just missed out on a blessing.”
One semester after the prayer group began, my friend Anneliese volunteered to keep the nightly meetings going while the founder studied abroad in China. While she felt called to the task, Anneliese also thought she would be the only person to show up at all.
Her roommate committed to come with her, and soon Anneliese began inviting other friends from the campus. By the time the group’s founder returned, the group had attracted a core of students.
“They wanted to have that close-knit friend group where they knew each other intimately and wanted to be able to not only pray together but live together and live out what God was calling us to do,” Anneliese said.
She realized volunteering had been a small act of obedience to God’s will that had blossomed, but she knew the prayer group would have happened somehow, with or without her. “It might not have looked the same way,” she said, “but God definitely wanted some people to be gathering in prayer, because there were just so many aspects of students wanting to reach out more, to come into a deep relationship with Christ…through prayer specifically.”
When the Jews in Persia were threatened with imminent death, Queen Esther was in a unique position to appeal to the king on their behalf. It meant risking her life, but her adoptive father warned, ““Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14).
Esther had a choice. She could use her position to save God’s people, or she could ignore God’s call and stay where it seemed safest. But without her help, the roles would reverse. God would still rescue his people, and she would be the one who would suffer.
Anneliese told me, “I’m so glad that I did not miss out on the blessing and to realize that tiny acts that I might not realize now…that those are opportunities to continue to get on board with what God’s doing.”
Lately, God’s put several choices in my lap. But it’s been clear which ones were doors God, like a modern gentleman, held open for me. If God’s will is “good, pleasing, and perfect,” then it’s just stubborn ridiculousness to turn away from his open doors (Romans 12:2). As Paul argues, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive” (1 Corinthians 10:23).
I don’t believe God will curse me if I don’t take the open doors offered to me. Then again, it might be enough of a curse to miss out on God’s plans.