– Duane Chapman
Wait on God
Isaiah writes about Christ, “I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open” (Isaiah 22:22). The fact that God alone opens doors that none of us can is also expressed in the Book of Revelation, where it says, “… the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open” (Rev, 3:7). To the church at Philadelphia, Jesus says, “… I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut” (Rev. 3:8). I should have read these verses before I tried to open the doors myself. When I don’t wait on God, I try to jimmy the lock or force it open, and that never ends well. I have learned the hard way to wait upon God to open doors because “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31), but those who don’t have their strength zapped.
Trust God and Not Others
I do trust a few friends of mine who are Christian brothers and sisters, but even some of these have let me down at times. I learned the hard way to trust in friends, and I got hurt. Apparently, God allowed me to trust others and learn the hard way that He alone is trustworthy and that He never breaks His promise and never lies (Num. 23:19; Heb. 6:18). Now, to myself “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust” (Psalm 91:2), for “the LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knows them that trust in him” (Nahum 1:7). I am not saying we can’t trust our friends. What I am saying is you can always trust God.
Reaping What We Sow
The interesting thing is that when I was young, I was into all kinds of trouble, but I never got caught. The irony in all this is I was glad I got caught because that’s when God finally humbled me and I was broken. But God cannot fix us until we are first broken. God will resist us when we are full of ourselves and offers His grace only when we humble ourselves before Him (James 4:6). I thought I had it made. I had drugs, possessions and didn’t even have to work for a living. I was headed on the broad path of destruction, so for me the law of reaping what you sow was actually good. I learned the hard way that crime doesn’t pay, but even the bad things that happened worked out for my very best (Rom. 8:28), as I finally came to saving faith in God.
Sadly, most of us have to learn the hard way, but experience is the best teacher. It seems that we have to fall in order to stand and that God sometimes has to break us before He can fix us. Like you, I usually get taught lessons the hard way because God wants me to remember, and boy did I remember!