We sat in our small group the other night and realized that almost all of us had something in common. If I were to guess, I would say that you could relate to us at some point in your life too. We were in a room filled with people that had recently said a big yes to God, only to have that very same door close right in front of them. Some couples had pursued a ministry or job opportunity that there weren’t chosen for, others had taken risks that didn’t pan out, and then there was us. We had just recently made a huge ask for our nonprofit. It was an ask that we knew God had very clearly called us to make, and in days the possibility was off of the table with no explanation. Despite the sheer number of people that had said yes to a door that closed the tone was unanimous: God led us to those moments for a purpose. Simply put, everyone agreed that receiving the no was hard, but worth it.
I can’t tell you the why behind our most recent no. There is no clarity or hindsight in the situation yet. However, I can tell you that we are no stranger to following God straight into closed doors. In fact, we followed Him straight to the mission field, investing years of our lives, to find the door closed. (You can read more about that in my blog posts Keep Saying Yes to God’s Calling and When Following God Doesn’t Turn Out the Way You Planned.) I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that there haven’t been moments where we haven’t questioned if we totally misheard God in our calling to go to Guatemala. However, deep down we know He called us there as clearly as we know that He called us back by giving us a son with a fatal form of altitude sickness. We know that God used our journey to the mission field and our time in Guatemala to prepare us for what He was really calling us to do: start a non-profit that serves foster and adoptive families.
Without saying yes to Guatemala, we would have never acquired the skills and passions that we needed to run Be the Village. In our time as missionaries, God ordained that we would go to conferences that would give us the tools that fuel our ministry today. He gave us connections that would bring inspiration on how to serve the families that we minister to. He used Guatemala to pave the way for our current ministry.
When I think of closed doors, no one’s life stands out to me more than the life of Joseph. Spanning fourteen chapters of the Bible, his life was story after story of closed doors (Genesis 37-50). He revealed his calling of interpreting dreams to his brothers only to be sold into slavery because of their jealousy. For many of us that would be the end of the story. We would find ourselves mad at a God who would allow us to suffer, and give up, but Joseph did not. He kept saying yes to the Lord in integrity and character and earned himself a position as the head of Potiphar’s household. However, he then found himself in front of another closed door when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him and he fled. Because of her dishonesty, Joseph found himself in prison. In prison, Joseph used his gifts to interpret the dreams of two men, with the promise that they will help him when they return to Pharoh’s house. However, once again Joseph was forgotten and faced two more years of closed doors.
When Joseph is finally called on by Pharoh to interpret dreams, he had faced so many closed doors. However, all of this had positioned Joseph in the right place to lead Egypt through a famine, and provide food for his family. I love what he says to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “ You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” The story of Joseph is a story of his countless, obedient yeses in the face of crushing nos.
I want my life to be a reflection of obedient yeses no matter how many nos that I face. It is in those nos that God molds us into someone who can be a vessel for Him. Have you faced a disappointing no lately? I know it is hard to say yes again, but I promise you won’t regret it.
Keep saying yes, friend.