After years of watching Christians miss opportunities God has set before them, though, I can offer four observations about why we don’t walk through God’s open doors.
First, opportunities are often disguised as problems.
It was the brilliant cartoon philosopher Pogo who once observed, “Gentlemen, we are surrounded by insurmountable opportunities.” Too often what we perceive as obstacles—no money, no machinery, no methodology, no manpower—are God’s opportunities in disguise.
Don’t miss an opportunity because it’s dressed up in a misleading costume and is looking like a problem.
Second, opportunities are often time sensitive.
When Walt Disney was planning Disneyland, he offered a friend the opportunity to buy up the scrubland surrounding the site, land that he knew would dramatically increase in value. The friend said he’d think about it. Because Disney needed an answer quickly, his friend lost the opportunity and tremendous wealth besides. If you fail to seize an opportunity God puts before you, it doesn’t necessarily mean God is finished with you. But it probably means He will turn to someone else who will jump at the opportunity.
Do you remember what Jesus told the Jewish leaders when they failed to grasp that He was their long-awaited messiah? “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it” (Matthew 21:43). As a result of Israel’s reluctance to walk through the door of salvation before them, God turned to the Gentiles and offered them the Gospel. Israel will yet have an opportunity to embrace Jesus, but only many long, sad centuries after missing their first opportunity (Zechariah 12:10).
Don’t let hesitation become procrastination that leads to devastation.
Third, opportunities are often tested by opposition.
Some people have gotten halfway through an open door and turned around when they encountered opposition. They thought, “We must not have heard God correctly. This opposition can’t be from God.” If Paul anticipated opposition when going through God’s open doors, we should too (1 Corinthians 16:8-9). Opposition can actually be a sign that you heard God correctly and that Satan is doing all he can to discourage you and cause you to turn around.
Paul and Barnabas warned the churches in Asia Minor, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Entering the kingdom refers not only to enjoying eternal salvation, but also to experiencing all the blessings God has in store for those who love Him (1 Corinthian 2:9). If God wants you to prosper in any way, you can be sure Satan does not. And your enemy will not sit idly by and watch you be blessed by your generous heavenly Father.
Don’t miss a blessing-filled Christian life by trying to have a problem-free Christian life.
Finally, opportunities are usually missed because of fear.
I can’t think of a God-given opportunity I ever received without trembling hands. But let me assure you that I have often reached out and taken God’s steady hand as I walked through His open door—and so can you.
All opportunities and all open doors have one thing in common: they focus on the future. And when we’re looking toward the future, we have two choices—to walk by faith or to walk in fear. God has not given us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7), but He has promised to go with us wherever we go in His will (Hebrews 13:5). God loves to get us to the place where our strength is little so that we can see His mighty power. The church in Revelation was told that an open door was before them “for you have…little strength” (Revelation 3:8), and God told Paul that His power was made perfect in human weakness (2 Cornithians 12:9).
So is there an opportunity in front of you at this very moment that makes you nervous, scared, weak, and faithless? Wonderful! You are right where you need to be to see God hold the door open for you as you walk through. I encourage you not to let fear dampen your anticipation of a victorious future.
Wherever there is a fearful response on our part, there is a faithful reassurance on God’s.
David Jeremiah, Signs of Life, p. 150