I got an encourager from a friend today. It has reminded me of a testimony I've only shared with a few people. This is the first time I'm putting it in writing.
In 2000, I got a new job and was over the moon as they say. Better pay, better prospects, better career chances etc. Some time in 2003, they moved me to a section where I would have to work on Sabbath.
I had made it clear in my initial interview that I am Adventist and would not be available to work on Sabbath. They had noted it, so I asked my boss why he was moving me to the Sunday section yet he knew I was Adventist. He said it was only temporary since I was standing in for a guy who went to the US for studies.
I missed the first Saturday at work. I had never thought of going to work on Sabbath. I had previously heard of a friend who came to church and went to work afterwards. I had judged him as weak, not knowing that I would face the same situation - and fall.
When I returned, I was put under pressure (no excuse though) and when I talked to that boss, he jokingly told me that 'some of us are greater than God'. Our relations were not helped that I was a union official.
I made my biggest mistake and compromised. I would work hard on Friday and report to work late on Sabbath. I was tense and terribly uncomfortable. Believe it or not, I wished and prayed for a sacking. I talked to my immediate boss over and over asking to be moved but he refused. The guy I stood in for returned and I went back to my boss, they refused to let me go.
One day, it happened. A new boss was brought and he found it strange that I reported to work so late on Saturdays. He got me suspended without pay for two weeks. I came back and continued my routine. Then I got another suspension, also without pay. This time, I went home and we prayed over the letter. I resigned, thanking God silently that He had answered my prayer.
He had seen it fit to close that door. Indeed, He opened another and I have no doubt in my mind that He wanted me to learn something. I value the many lessons I learnt which I will not explain here for lack of space.
To many of us Christians, when God closes doors, we keep banging it thinking we can bang it loud enough to make God hear us. Perhaps the biggest question is how to discern between a closed door and a minor challenge we should overcome and move on the same path.
Another challenge comes when we know a door is closed but we still face 'extreme heat'. God has a reason for exposing us to extreme heat, and it is not to make us burn. It is to refine us, and sometimes, to remind us that we are dust (like He did with Paul's 'thorn in the flesh').
I hope nobody makes the mistakes I made. If you are in a similar situation, I hope you will not burn. I pray for God to give you strength to make a choice that will glorify His name.