There are the days when the quote, “when one door closes, another one opens,” seems incomplete and inadequate. Why? It neglects to mention the waiting period between the closing of the old door and the opening of the new one. This waiting period is what some of us would like to call, the dark hallway.
Let me explain.
Between the two doors is an [imaginary] hallway—the place where we are when the old door of comfort, bliss, steadiness, normalcy or regularity has been shut, and the new one which should usher one into a place of certainty of the future, hasn’t been opened yet. It is a place of darkness, confusion, and sometimes even, depression and despair. In this place, it feels like your feet is not on solid ground. This hallway is the point where many doubts about past decisions arise, questions about the unsure present surface, and discouragement wages war against what was once a seemingly bright future.
For any Christian going through this experience, it’s a defining moment in your life. If you’re a creative, nothing puts a strain on your creativity like a dark hour. You suddenly realize that before now, the zeal that powered your ability to bring art to fruition was tied to your hope of success in that venture. But now that life has thrown you a curve ball, even the zeal to live beyond survival level is terribly shaken, and you find yourself in a zone where it feels like all you do is breathe to exist—nothing more. You find that you’re in a place where you ask God questions that barely months ago, you never would’ve dared, but now, you’re angry enough to do so. “After all,” you say to yourself, “you have been God’s faithful servant for so long.” You’ve even searched your spiritual life over and over again to see what went wrong for God to have allowed this trial to happen, and nothing stands out to you as a reason why. You’ve read Scripture cover-to-cover, front to back, and back to front, so you can find peace and comfort, but you’ve gotten to a tipping point where God’s Word can’t seem to hold water in your life anymore, and, His promises seem so far away that the reward of good stewardship—the kind that promises joy even in the fellowship of suffering with Jesus—doesn’t seem so attractive anymore; you thought you heard God clearly when He made amazing promises to you in the secret and quiet place, concerning the heart desires that He, Himself, had placed on your heart. You’ve read dozens of inspirational articles, books, devotionals etc. searching for answers just so you can hang onto hope, but with each passing day, your faith is more unstable as the waves of the sea—today, up, and tomorrow, down. Nothing excites you anymore. “In fact,” you say to yourself, “dreams are for stupids. God should have left you alone, and should never have filled your head with all that fancy stuff.” And, you admit that nothing, in your closeness to God for years, prepared you for this torture.
At the same time, you know enough to choose to never curse God and die (as Job was persuaded to, by his wife (Job 2: 9)). You believe enough to trust that there is a God, and that no matter what, you will remain loyal, because the last years where you had an amazing relationship with God were not a lie. They were very real. GOD IS REAL. And you know this because you KNOW Him; He revealed Himself to you in a way that you can never forget. If in the end, you’ll be a doorkeeper in the kingdom of God, so be it. “It is still better than being a prince in the kingdom of the world,” you say to yourself, even though you still try to move on into a phase in life where you’ll teach yourself to stop expecting positives; your heart’s too broken to take anymore “by faith things.”
What you may have forgotten is that this is the testing of your faith—a trial by fire where you will be purified and refined as gold and silver. This is the place where God will hold up the mirror and reveal a lot of the ugliness in you—not to condemn you, but to convict you so that your image and likeness will be more like Christ’s, who, Himself, is the radiance of God’s glory, and the EXACT representation of God’s being (Heb. 1: 3a). This testing will determine if you’re a child of God at heart, piercing even into your bone marrow, shaking your foundation to its very core, and it will check how deep your roots run—whether it’s deep enough to survive the place you’ve eagerly prayed to God for so long to take you to.
Does this sound familiar? Is this your story right now?
Ruth, the great grandmother of King David, had such a time in her life, and I’ve come to relate to her in recent times. Here was a young widow left alone by her sister-in-law to cater for their bitter mother-in-law, and on her way to a country where its people and ways were completely foreign to her. The odds were obvious. Yet, she refused to turn back, but instead, made a classic statement of faith that resonates even today.
Arriving in this foreign country, Ruth slipped into a routine lifestyle that could have driven anyone to doubt a decision as hers. She would wake every morning to go to work in a field of a relative, and in the evening, head on back home to her mother-in-law with the harvest of the day’s work, only to do the same thing all over again the next day, and the next day, for months.
Ruth’s experience is similar to what we deal with today. Like her, we encounter situations and circumstances that make us feel we’re stuck in a rut with no end in sight. There was a time in my life when I felt this way. I’d even come to believe that my daily routines, which left me uninspired and depressed, would be all that I’ll ever be. Those days were the slowest and longest I’d ever experienced in my life. I even lost my “ability” to write because I was depressed. I felt God had left me and abandoned me despite what His Word said. I’d often asked myself what others were doing right, or what I was doing wrong. I would cry and fall into a deeper state of despair that seemed unending. Nothing, I thought, had prepared me for such an experience. And I honestly didn’t believe that I’d survive it.
But God was faithful. He held me close and to His bosom, even though it didn’t seem so. In retrospect, I see how He carried me, led me, and never let the embers of my faith die.
Through Ruth’s story, He taught me something: Ruth never lost hope or gave into depression or despair. She never believed she was stuck in a rut. She NEVER gave up. She let God weave her routine days into a beautiful love story, which was then placed in Scripture to inspire others for generations to come. It may have seemed with each passing day that nothing new was happening in Ruth’s life, but in the background, something wonderful was happening, despite how long it took to manifest. Ruth, eventually, was blessed for her faith and hard work. If Ruth’s story isn’t inspiring, I don’t know what is.
If this is where you are now, find hope in Ruth’s story. If God could bring her to a place of fulfillment, satisfaction, and content, He WILL do the same for you. You just have to hold on and keep focusing on Jesus. It may seem like nothing good will ever come out of your seemingly “uninteresting” daily routines and “uneventful” life (and for you, it may have been this way for years as it was with Moses who tended sheep for forty years in the desert), but your story isn’t finished yet. Like Ruth and Moses, the sun will definitely come out. How do I know this? I do because God is the same yesterday, today, and so He will be forever. His name is FAITHFUL; He is Jehovah ROI, the God who sees you and knows you (Gen. 16: 13-14), and, He will NEVER, like man, change His mind about you (Numbers 23:19). The promises He made to you, and the desires that He, Himself, placed on your heart, He will bring to pass, because, like the rain and snow that come down to earth and do not return to the heavens without watering the earth, so is His Word and promise to you, which has come out of His mouth and will NOT return to Him empty. It will accomplish everything that He desires for you, and will achieve the purpose for which He sent it (Is. 55:9-10), for He knows the plans that He has for you—plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jer. 29: 11).
Dear friends, be like Ruth, who trusted in God!
This article, I Am Ruth, first appeared on To Be A Person (TBAP).