Obstacles, Opportunities, and Open Doors.

Dr. Anthony W. Adams
Dr. Anthony W. Adams

Norton Conn in his book, With God All Things Are Possible, asked the questions, “Do you sometimes wonder if the place in life you occupy is really where God wants you to be?  Do you wonder if, perhaps, you have hidden talents and abilities that would fit you for bigger things, more satisfaction and happiness than you now have?”  I believe that many of us can relate to the feelings expressed in these questions.  As we look for opportunities we are faced with what seems to be insurmountable obstacles.

Jesus told the disciples, “Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life…who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? If you can’t do such a small thing, why worry about the rest…If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, how much more will God do for you, you people of weak faith! Don’t chase after what you will eat and what you will drink.  Stop worrying…Your Father knows that you need them.  Instead, desire his kingdom and these things will be given to you as well” (Luke 12:22, 25-26, 28-29, 30b- 31, CEB).  The psalmist said, “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.  But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another” (75:6-7, KJV).  What these scriptures teach us is that our help, hope, and opportunities reside in the power and person of Jesus Christ.  This does not mean that we do not have a part to play.  We have to take the initiative to prepare and pursue, but it is God that will ultimately open the door to our opportunities.

Chuck Swindoll said, “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” Dr. Charles Kettering, the famous research scientist, could relate to this.  He is rather impatient with people who speak of insurmountable obstacles.  “It is like the doctors with their incurable diseases,” he says.  “Did you ever stop to think what an incurable disease is?  It is one the doctor doesn’t know how to cure.”  An example of what I am talking about can be seen, years ago, in the lamp division of General Electric.  Engineers were assigned the impossible task, as a joke, of frosting the inside of their light bulbs.  It was kind of a hazing or initiation of sorts.  Each time a new engineer joined the division they would assign them this ridiculous task, and after their failure they would all enjoy a good laugh.  Marvin Pipkin was initiated and he not only found a way to frost bulbs on the inside but he developed an etching acid which gave minutely rounded pits instead of sharp depressions, thus materially strengthening each bulb.  No one had told him it couldn’t be done, and he took it so seriously that he did it.

I want to encourage you to first, trust God and allow Him to lead you.  Second, prepare yourself for the opportunity that will come.  Finally, be resolved to walk through the door that God opens regardless of how difficult it may seem.  Alexander Graham Bell said, “Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open.”

Question: How do we distinguish between an opportunity disguised as a difficulty and a closed door? 

3 Replies to “Obstacles, Opportunities, and Open Doors.”

  1. We can know the difference of an opportunity in disguised as a difficulty and a closed door by seeking God first as you stated. (Matthew 6:33)
    This question has really stirred my heart! For me to answer this question, I first need to tell a short version story about my own life.

    Through the years of my salvation and in knowing my savior, it’s been such a wonderful journey. At times, it’s been an adventurous journey. I have been through storms, in the pit, in the valley, the furnace and on the mountain top. Jesus either gave me the strength to go through it or he removed me from it, but I was never alone. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
    So in saying that, when faced with an obstacle, I would know after seeking God’s direction, or at times just keep walking by faith. I would ( most times) know or sense in my spirit if the opportunity that seems too difficult is the one that the Lord would lead me through. If he led me to it, he will lead me through it. We could all agree that God leads us when it seems impossible or when it looks like there is no way, but Jesus IS the way and with him as our Sheppard he leads us and guides us. (John 14:6 & Psalm 23) We have the same spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead living and dwelling in us! (Romans 8:11) By his grace, I look forward to opportunities that he leads me to. After all, it’s all for his glory!

    If the door is closed, then I thank him for sparing my life and leading me to his perfect will. One way to know the difference is by the peace and joy he provides in our hearts <3
    Also, we are to keep our focus on Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)

    Nehemiah said, "The joy of the Lord is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10) He said this in the middle of being intimidated, mocked and distracted by his enemies. In the end, (a season) Even his enemies realized his work (building the walls) was with the help from God. (Nehemiah 6:15-16)
    Abraham's faith was strengthened by obstacles he faced. (Romans 4:20)

    So I say to this opportunity that looks impossible, "I am walking by faith and not by sight, one day at a time." We serve a mighty, powerful and all knowing God, all things truly are possible and we are told to come boldly to the throne of grace. (Hebrews 4:16)

    Last, there is a song by Jason Castro called, "Only a Mountain." The chorus is, "This is only a mountain you don't have to find your way around it, tell it to move, 'it'll move, tell it to fall and it will fall."

    Dr Adams, how do you distinguish between the two?

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      First, I believe that any direction from God will align itself with the Word of God. When the Devil presented certain choices and opportunities to Jesus in the wilderness, the filter Jesus used was the Word of God. Second, we need to be led by the Spirit of God. Paul said, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14, KJV). Because the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17) He will not lead you in a way that is contrary to the Bible. The Holy Spirit often directs us through, what Kenneth Hagin among others would call an “Inward witness.” Sometimes that inward witness is through our conscience or that still small voice. The apostle Paul referred to this when he stated, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 9:1, KJV). He talked about this again while on that dangerous sea voyage, “Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, And said unto them, sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives” (Acts 27:9-10, KJV). Please notice that he said “I perceive…” He is talking about that inward witness. Third, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14, KJV). Godly counsel can help us discern between fancy, foolishness, and truth. Counselors will open our eyes to different viewpoints. I would encourage you however, to make sure that the people you go to are Godly men and women, and second, that they will have the courage to tell you the truth and not just what you want to hear.

      Great thoughts in your post. I’m sure it will be an encouragement to others.
      Dr. Adams
      Question: What are some ways that you have been led by God?

  2. Some ways that God has led me are:
    First, I must say that I am thankful for his leading and I count on his leading, and only his!
    The Lord leads me daily, moment by moment and every minute of the day. He gives me the strength and the grace that I need to accomplish what i need to do every day, including praying for and with others and helping those that are in need.
    He leads me to his will, his truth through his word, voice and spirit. He also leads me to surrender all that I am and to let go of anything that stands in the way of his leading.
    Last, he leads me beside the still waters.

    ~Wherever he leads, I will surely follow!

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