‚ÄúBut I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.‚Äù
(1Cor 16:8-9 NIV)
‚ÄúNow when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said good-by to them and went on to Macedonia.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.‚Äù
(2Cor 2:12-14 NIV)
Here are two places where I am totally baffled. Sometimes you look at the things that Paul says and you just wonder if he was a Christian or not!
In 1 Cor 16, he says that a door has opened for him, and there are many who oppose him. Those don’t go together! But wow, for him they did. Or I even wonder if they are one and the same! One would think that an open door for effective work would mean that you didn’t have ‘many adversaries’ (KJV).
The other one is just as puzzling. You would always think that if God gave you an open door, you should go through it. Paul talks in the words just before this about how to keep from being tricked by Satan, so we can know that Paul knew what he was doing. After this he says that God is always leading us in triumph, so we can be confident that Paul wasn’t rebuked or corrected or condemned for leaving open-doored Troas and heading for Macedonia.
I’m at a point also where a door has been opened, but I’m not sure if I’m supposed to go through it. I feel like I’ve been so deepened in the last few years. I’ve been deepened to a point of seeing that a lot of the things of God are not as cut & dry as I used to think. Maybe another way to put it is that God isn’t so binary to me any more. As far as a lifestyle and the choices we make, His will is becoming less of a this or that to me and more of a wider list of options.
Of course, at the same time I have the confidence that all of my ways are in His hands, and that He’s in the midst of every one of these paths I see, and to Him my whole life is an entirely visible path in Him.
So we aren’t robotic mice in a maze, pushing along and whenever there is an opening we go through it until we hit a dead end and then backtrack. We are walking The Path with our Creator, Lover, and Savior, and He knows the best choices to make.
Guide me, Lord Jesus!