Have you ever had a moment when you’re trying to push a door open and then you look up only to realize it says, “pull?” I have done this a time or two – trying to force my way into a department store hoping there are no prying eyes around when I suddenly realize my foolishness! Ironically, people use the idea of an ‘open door’ all the time when referring to moments of victory in their life. Statements like, “God opened the door” comes out of Christians often as a way of sharing a great testimony – but I wonder, what is really meant by the expression? Undoubtedly, God can allow circumstances and situations to come together for the good of His plans and purposes; however, what about all the heartbreaks, the shut doors, things that we see as unwanted endings instead of new beginnings? I have come to learn that there is great gratitude owed to God when He intercedes to close a door in your life.
A few years ago, everything seemed to scream “no” in my life. Jobs, opportunities, and situations that were a ‘shoe in’ fell right through the cracks – my future prospects left me feeling broken and confused. Because I am not a quitter, I tried everything to open the doors that I didn’t realize were shutting for a purpose. In a metaphorical sense, I tried knocking harder, pushing and tugging, and even climbing through the windows awaiting the ‘open door.’ But much to my surprise, the doors kept slamming shut. If you have ever experienced a domino effect where one thing leads to another, you can understand the frustration of multiple closed doors. However, I discovered something very intriguing throughout the process that I thought I might pass along.
There is power and purpose in closed doors. While everyone loves to rejoice when God opens doors, we forget that it takes just as much strength to close a door as it does to open one. In fact, the ‘no’s’ are just as valuable to us as the things that God does allow to come to pass. While the closed doors take longer to make sense of, don’t disregard God’s involvement in them! Proverbs 16:9 confirms,
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”
This means that when we walk towards the wrong doors in life, even if they seem ‘right,’ God has the final wisdom on the matter and loves us enough to stop the things that are wrong for us.
There is an old story that I was fascinated with as a child. Here is a short summary: There was a barbaric king who decided a criminal’s fate by allowing them to choose one and only one door – one of the doors promised new life, the other instant death. Here were the rules: The prisoner had a 50/50 shot to live or die because as he entered the arena, two doors awaited him that looked exactly the same. The only catch was, behind one door was a beautiful woman, behind the other a hungry tiger. I believe that this is how we sometimes see our life and God’s involvement in it. We choose the door we want, and if the results are rewarding – God was there. However, if the results are unexpected, uncomfortable, unwanted, well then God is… __(fill in the blank)__.
If you place your life in God’s hands, He is not the old king in the story that allows fate to take over and randomly decide which door opens by mere human chance. God already knows what is on the other side of each opportunity we are faced with. He is not a cruel Father that should allow us to choose the wrong path out of spite. So, instead of worrying about the ‘should-of, could-of moments’ that He may be stopping for a reason, trust that God sees things perfectly. He has a clear understanding of each event in our life and He sometimes closes the doors for our good (because who knows, maybe a tiger is sitting behind it). Keep this one thing in mind – no matter how closed the door is, there is power and purpose in each and every closed door.