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When God Closes Doors
April 03, 2014
-------When God Closes Doors-------
I've heard it said that when God opens a door no man can shut it and when God closes a door no man can open it. This is my story about a couple of those open and shut doors. About ten years ago, God sent me through a door that I was never expecting to be opened for me. At that time I was working as a transitional employee with the United States Postal Service. My job was keying mail with a computer that the big machines were unable to read. It was during this time period that found me teaching Sunday School class at a local Methodist church that just had a few members.
One night during this time period I had a very vivid dream that I was teaching a Bible class but all of the students were very elderly and the class had grown very large. Reflecting back on that dream, I believe this was more of a vision than a dream. It wasn't too long after that when I found out what the vision was about. The church I was attending had lost much of its membership because the congregation, most of whom came from Baptist backgrounds and were very much against a woman being the pastor of a church, had been sent a woman by the powers that be in the Methodist denomination to pastor the church. Scripture does teach that a woman should not be the leader of a church as women are more easily deceived than men are. This is pointed out in 1 Timothy when Timothy brings up the example of Satan targeting and deceiving Eve in the Garden of Eden rather than going after Adam first as one of the reasons for that. At the time, I was the treasurer of the church so I had obligations to the church. The congregation did sit under this woman pastor for one Sunday but they did not want her as their pastor. There were about fifty people in church that day which was normal attendance for that church. I received a phone call from one of the church leaders a couple of days later informing me that no one was going to be at the next service. My wife didn't like anything about what was happening and stated she was never going back to that church and she has kept her word. I had a responsibility. I couldn't leave. It didn't feel right.
When I went to church the following Sunday, there was only one couple in the church and myself. I really felt sorry for the pastor as she had just graduated from the University of Georgia and didn't really deserve that kind of treatment. Over the next few weeks, the church did get a few more people to come and I continued to teach a Sunday School class. The average attendance was about ten each Sunday. During this time, I did develop a close bond with the few members of this church.
During one of our church meetings, the Pastor stated if we were to get more people into the church, boosting the attendance level, we needed to reach out to the community. One of the ways to do this, we decided, would be to do visitations to a health care facility for people in need of assisted living. It was at this facility that the director of activities stated they could use someone to do a Bible study each week. This was when I realized what the vision of me teaching the elderly was all about. God had opened a door for me into territory I had never been in before.
With the help the congregation I did conduct the Bible studies but the few members of the congregation that were helping slowly faded away. Eventually I was doing the weekly Bible study by myself. My wife was attending one church while I was attending another. I did not care for this arrangement and knew my wife was never going back to the Methodist church.
In the year 2004 I announced with some sadness to my Methodist friends that I would be leaving so my wife and I could attend worship services together and they needed to elect a new treasurer and decide who would become the Sunday school teacher. I explained that I needed to be going to church with my wife which they understood completely. We ended up joining a denomination called the Church of God because I agreed with their viewpoints on prophetic issues which was very important to me. I did promise my Methodist friends that I would be more than happy to be a guest teacher for Sunday school once a month at the Methodist church and have faithfully done so ever since.
When I worked for the Post Office, I was working from 4 PM to midnight so my days were free. I had a Bible study at the health care facility every Tuesday Morning at 10:00 AM. This lasted from the years 2004 to 2009 when God closed this door. What events led to the closing of this door?
During the Christmas season of 2008, it was announced to the Remote Encoding Center, of which I was a transitional employee, that the United States Postal Service was closing the facility down in March of 2009 and moving that work to states in the far west. Transitional employees could not be relocated within the post office doing other types of work. They could either move out west doing the same job they were doing or find another job. It was much too costly for me to move especially since my wife had a job in the local area also. I had to find another job.
My last day of service as a postal employee would be the last day of February in 2009. Here I was a fifty-one year old man with a mortgage he couldn't afford and credit card bills he had been paying down hoping he could work for the postal service long enough to pay them off about to enter the ranks of the unemployed. I had no idea what i was going to do. Prior to my postal service job, I had worked at a textile mill owned by Dixie Yarns and then owned by R.L. Stowe for over 20 years before leaving them to work for the post office. I had dreams of becoming a full time postal employee and retiring with good pay and good benefits but now I was facing the challenge of starting a new career as a middle-aged man. Even the textile mill I had worked at for so long had also closed down about the same time. Two doors had just closed.
At this time, T-Mobile had just opened up a call center in Chattanooga and was hiring customer service reps. The transitional employees of the remote encode center who were going to be losing their jobs soon was given the opportunity to apply for this job. I did apply for this job but I was not hired because I had no prior experience with dealing with customers over the telephone. I was devastated and discouraged. All of my working life I had to commute from Cleveland, TN to Chattanooga, TN to get to work. I was really tired of spending money on gas and vehicles and spending much of my time to make this drive. I told my wife I was willing to take a cut in pay if I could find a job in Cleveland and not have to do that drive anymore.
My wife, Carolyn, and I attended a Prophecy Conference in Cleveland at the beginning of my unemployed period. Perry Stone was the main speaker at this conference. After one of his presentations, Perry stated he felt a strong need to pray for people that were in between jobs and he invited all the people who were looking for work to come forward to be prayed over. I was one of many people who went forward that night. Two weeks later I had a job.
I found work being a customer service rep for Whirlpool but I had to enter as a temporary employee with Ranstad being the agency I worked for. My starting pay was $9 per hour but I no longer had to commute to Chattanooga. I had been making $14 per hour with the postal service. It was a big cut in pay but I had a job. My intention was to get experience as a customer service rep then reapply for work at T-Mobile in Chattanooga. My new job required I worked during the day so I could no longer do the Bible study at the health care facility because they had no one to gather the patients up on weekends. This is how God closed that door. However, God usually closes a door so another one can be opened.
Just before I started working for Whirlpool through a temp agency, I got a call from another health care facility stating they needed someone to do a Bible study for the Alzheimer's patients there. This facility housed only Alzheimer's patients. I met with the director there and some ground rules were laid. I was to speak to the patients as if they were not afflicted with any kind of disease and as if they were in their right minds which many obviously were not. In turn, I was given the freedom to teach whatever was taught in the Bible with no restrictions. This began in the year 2009. God had opened a door.
The year 2009 was certainly a year of change for me. Losing a job that I really enjoyed doing was stressful enough. It was also stressful to have to learn a completely new line of work having to deal with unhappy customers which creates its own stress. We could no longer make the mortgage payments on our home so we had to let it go to foreclosure and find something more affordable. I also learned I had type II diabetes after suffering from some bouts of vertigo. Stress probably contributed to that.
While all the change was going on, I still conducted the Bible studies at the Alzheimer's health care facility and even got my friend, Robert, to accompany me to play guitar and sing hymns. Robert had just gotten on disability because of some health issues of his own so he was going through some major life changes himself. We had always been friends since we were 18 years old and now we had the opportunity to bring a church service to patients who mostly came from Christian backgrounds. The patients and the staff always thanked us for coming.
Although the year 2009 was a difficult year for me, blessings came out of the struggles. If I had still been commuting to Chattanooga to work for the post office I may have never discovered my Type II diabetes and could have died from a heart attack or stroke. Now I take medication and have the diabetes under control. Another blessing came after I had worked six months in the call center. Whirlpool allowed me to go in home and do customer service from there to free up office space at the call center. It was much easier to deal with customers from the relaxed atmosphere of home and I didn't even have to drive to work. Whirlpool eventually hired me as full time employee and promoted me to support Kitchen Aid small appliances which is much less stressful than the job I had previously done. The home we lost needed many repairs that we couldn't afford to make and we ended up renting a much nicer house from our daughter who had moved out into the home of her new husband. We were able to purchase this house last year with a much lower mortgage payment than what we had been paying on the house we lost.
We faced a huge credit card debt in 2004 so we cut up our credit cards and haven't used one since. Over many months of payments and negotiations we were able to pay off all credit card debt without filing for bankruptcy. The last payment was last year which allowed us to apply for a mortgage and purchase our house. Although there were struggles, blessings came out of the struggles.
Robert and I enjoyed many Saturday afternoons with the Alzheimer's patients. He would sing, I would teach, and we were blessed. We got to know many people in their last few weeks or last few years on Earth before they stepped into eternity. It always saddened us when we found out one of the patients who had been sitting in our Bible study had passed on. The staff didn't volunteer this information. It only came out when we asked where a certain individual was. This Bible study lasted from 2009 to 2014 then God closed the door.
One Saturday afternoon as were checking in to do another Bible study, one of the workers there said she needed to talk to me before we went in. Both Robert and I were assuming she was going to notify us about some celebration the facility was going to hold for the patients and their families and gives us the date we wouldn't be able to come. We both assumed wrong.
The worker informed me that some family members of patients were complaining that I had taught about "hell" and they didn't like it. This worker went on to say that these patients had the minds of children and I should only speak about the love of God with no mention of hell. The person who had originally called me specifically told me to treat the patients as adults not children.
I realized what this worker was asking me to do was a violation of the original arrangement that had been made but the person who had called me to do the Bible study had moved on to another facility so the healthcare facility was now under new management. I also realized that this worker was asking me to teach part of the Bible but not all of it. Teach heaven but dare not mention hell. Who knows what other compromises would have to be made. I knew this was something I could not do or even knew how to do. I told the worker that I would think about it and left. I knew that door had been closed.
Robert told me I had done the right thing because you cannot compromise with the word of God. I had taught at this facility for five years using whatever lesson was in the Sunday school book for that week. There had never been a complaint until now. We live in the middle of the Bible belt so this should never be. There is an underlying current in this country that despises the word of God.
Our government legalizes murder and calls it abortion. Same sex couples can live together and legally be married. Christians in Muslim and Communist countries are beaten, tortured, and killed everyday and our media completely ignores this because they care nothing for people who claim to have faith in Christ. Hollywood completely rewrites Bible stories such as Noah and thousands flock to see the word of God perverted.
When the health care worker said I could no longer teach about "hell" I had been expecting something like that to happen because persecution is coming and my experience is just the tip of a much bigger iceberg. Now I'm just waiting to see what door God is going to open for me next.
Copyright 2014 by Gary Goodworth
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