So often we hear about — and experience! — what seems to be such an unfair set of facts: All the doors seem to be opening in one direction, every message you get from God seems to indicate that what you seek or plan is His will, you have total peace in your spirit, circumstances all seem to point to one outcome… and then the doors slam shut… What? How can this be?
There seems to be only two explanations: God didn’t come through with His promise, or we haven’t quite mastered hearing God’s voice and following His directions! And since God keeps all His promises, including the one of Isaiah 55:11: “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” (NLT), we tend to understand the latter — We don’t know how to follow God’s lead!
Or is there, perhaps, a third explanation?
The day we got turned back at the US border was one of those days for me. We had already driven over 5000 km from home, pulling our little travel trailer. Our ultimate destination was California, and our goal was to lay my mom’s remains to rest beside my dad’s grave. The entire family would be gathering in just over a week, and the urn was with us, in our car…
This trip had been turbulent from the beginning. I knew in my heart that this was the right thing to do, but it was during the time of COVID, and the US/Canadian land border was still closed to non-essential traffic. But surely they would consider a burial “essential”, and with this hope, we had set out from home. Our trip to Alberta had been uneventful, but as we spent a week and a half with our youngest son and his wife, we couldn’t help but worry. Besides the border situation, we were driving an electric car and towing a trailer. We hadn’t had problems to date, but the Rocky Mountains still stood between us and our ultimate destination, and there wasn’t yet a great system of electric charge stations available to us. Especially through the Rockies. And given the facts that all cars consume more power when towing and when in the mountains, this was a major potential problem. Besides this, it was a summer of fires to the west of the Rockies. Our roads were closed, and the only town we could stay at, given the car charging needs, was under evacuation orders.
So we began to pray, and we received message after message that God would make a way. Godly friends also received confirmations of this, and we set out with peace in our hearts.
And God did make a way. It was like we were being “pushed” through the Rocky Mountains. We used less energy on the long climbs than we had used on the flat prairies. As for the fire, God sent a bit of rain, opening a window of opportunity for us. The town where we needed to stay went off evacuation orders for a couple days, but went immediately back on the day we left! The closed roads opened up, and we made it through to the US border. Only to have our trip deemed “unessential” and to be ushered back to Canada…
Wait. What? Didn’t I hear from God right? Why would He miraculously bring us this far only to have the door slam shut in our faces?
To say I was upset was an understatement. We had to scramble for a place to park the trailer, buy last minute plane tickets and arrange for COVID testing, etc (for whatever reason, although the landborder was closed, you could still fly to the US). Where was God in all of this?
My dear husband had the answer: “God must have something for us to do here in British Columbia,” he said. And he must have been right, because God opened up all the doors for our trailer situation, the plane tickets, even providing for our COVID testing…
So was God not in charge? Not at all. He was very much in charge.
Had I heard wrong? Not at all. God fully intended for us to drive to British Columbia.
So where did I go wrong?
I went wrong because I understood that our ultimate outcome would be crossing the border, when God meant for us to drive to British Columbia and then fly to California. God didn’t let us down, He knew all along what needed to happen and He made all those arrangements. The only problem was that I hadn’t seen things from His point of view!
I still don’t fully understand why God wanted us in British Columbia, but it did give us several days of rest and relaxation from a stressful trip, and while there we connected with friends and acquaintances, and we even had a few distinctly God-led encounters. These didn’t seem earth-shattering to me, but who knows? We did what God asked us to do, we can only believe that this was His ultimate will.
So does it seem the door has just been slammed in your face when you were doing your best to follow God’s will?
Be encouraged: God hasn’t defaulted on His plan, and there is nothing wrong with your ability to hear His voice. Rather, He simply had a different outcome in mind than you did, and somehow, His outcome will bring blessing where yours might not have! Just put it all back in His hands, sit back and watch. He will come through with a plan “B”, and that plan “B” will be so much better than your plan “A”!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Author, Moderator, Acting Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries