“We serve a good God.” This is one of my favorite affirmations that my mentor, Dr. Glenda Glover, President of Tennesse State University often repeats to me and others out loud. I agree with and can attest to her statement because He’s been especially good to me. I may not always understand His plan, but over the last 36 years, I have learned to take heed and follow the path He has set for my life. I know that where I am He brought me. I recently relocated from Atlanta to Washington D.C. I loved Atlanta and had no plans of leaving. Sometimes we get so comfortable and complacent in mediocre relationships, jobs, and friendships that we don’t even see our potential. God has greater plans for us than we have for ourselves.
God rescued me from my complacency and opened doors that I had never even imagined. I now have the privilege of imparting knowledge to students at one of the best universities in the country. All that I know he taught me. From attending a Montessori preschool to earning a Ph.D., everything I know, God gave me the ability to learn. All that I have, He gave me and what I am He made me. But unlike me, Dr. Glover reminds us, He didn’t have to fill out an application, submit a resume, study, or rely on His friends, family, or political connections. He was, is, and will always be God. I have learned to not only praise God for saving and blessing me but to simply praise God for being God. If He doesn’t work another miracle in my life, I will praise Him for being God.
Regardless of our level of education, salary, social affiliations, civic associations, professional memberships, and political connections, at times we are all faced with challenges with respect to employment, relationships, or social and financial obligations. Things take a turn and doors are closed in our faces. We find ourselves standing outside of the relationship, job, or social organization we helped to build. At one moment everything may be just fine, but in the next a challenge derails our plans and progress. People who we thought were on our side, so-called friends, coworkers, bosses, employees, club members, and even church members who smiled in our face, suddenly begin to stab us in the back. At these times, when we want to give up, we must remember that God is greater than our situation. We must know that when one door closes, God opens another. Revelations 3:8 tells us that God knows all the things we do and He has opened a door for us that no one can close.
While we may want to lash out at those who have wronged us, Romans 12:19 (NIV) instructs us “Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath.” The best thing you can do is focus on your future. Be confident in the knowledge that “no one can stop your blessings. Not a hater, not an ex, not a hex, and certainly no devil from hell” (Joynne Whittaker).
Though we may want to go South, God may open doors of opportunity that take us North. We may want to go East, but He sends us West. We must remember that God’s plan is greater than our desires, hopes, and dreams. According to Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight”. Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV) advises us in this way, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
In interpreting these instructions, I offer the following steps that have worked for me:
- Go to God in prayer.
Ask Him to bless you as He sees fit.
- Be patient and praise God in the meantime.
Even if it means praising him in the hallway outside of a door that He has yet to open.
- Stop trying to reopen doors that God has closed.
The past is over. Move forward.
- Accept and be grateful for the doors He has opened.
Don’t take your current blessings for granted.
- Know that His plan is always greater than your situation.
Kristen Broady is an economics professor at Howard University and Principal of KBroad Consulting, a political data analytics consultancy, serving clients in Atlanta, Georgia and Washington, D.C.