The Five CS’S

So exactly how does God guide us?

Nicky Gumbel in his brilliant book “Questions of Life” talks about the five CS’s.*

Circumstantial Signs, Common Sense, Commanding Scripture, Compelling Spirit and Counsel of the Saints.

When I was school chaplain at Clayesmore School in Dorset, England, I received a phone call one evening from the headmaster of St John’s College, Johannesburg.

I had been assistant chaplain there before being appointed to Clayesmore.

The St John’s headmaster asked me to pray about returning to St John’s College as senior chaplain.

“I’m not offering you the job,” he said, “but pray about it.”

Here’s the thing. If he hadn’t suggested the possibility of returning to St. John’s there would have been nothing to pray about. The CIRCUMSTANCES would have ruled that out. So we do not need to receive guidance if there are no open doors.

Actually closed doors are a form of guidance.

Closed doors should not dismay us. I was unemployed for five years and knocked on door after door during that time – doors that remained firmly shut.

But if you were walking down a passage in a hotel and I wanted you to walk through the door at the end of the passage, I would make sure that every door down that passage remained firmly shut. Except the one at the end.

So I remained where I was (not that I had much choice!) until on the 26th of February 1998 God opened three doors in one day! (See a post entitled “The Unexpected Doors” under the category of “Praise”.)

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who SHUTS AND NO ONE OPENS, says this:   ‘I know your   deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut,

(Revelation 3:7-8a NASB)

Shut doors are a part of God’s love.

Actually when I prayed about returning to St John’s, I got excited.

Then the St John’s headmaster phoned again and said that he had offered the job to someone else.

No need for further guidance.

The man he’d offered it to prayed about it over a weekend.

I prayed too, that God would do what He wanted.

Then the other candidate turned it down.

The door re-opened!

Next Post: Common Sense and Compelling Spirit

* Kingsway 1993 ISBN 0854765913