A closed door is not the end of the journey for a Christian. Instead it is an opportunity to meet God who closed it for you. Often you might see people and circumstances as responsible for the closed door. And it wounds you deeply the more you think like that.
Yet as you look to your God who sits on His throne, you’ll gain the understanding that it is He who is in control of all that is happening to you. To see God’s hand behind a closed door immediately brings His Presence and peace near to you. Then, one step at a time, be it ever so slowly, your eyes will open to the truth that your God will bring blessing out of every closed door in your life.
The Risen Christ holds the key to every closed door (Revelation 1:17b, 18 NIV). Your hope for the future should spring from this truth. There is great comfort in this knowledge. It helps you to face any opposition that threatens to close a door to your face.
Such opposition is quite natural when God has kept open a door for you. No matter who, however strong or influential that person or group might be, is trying to shut the door against you, you should rest in the knowledge that their fight is not against you but against the Risen Christ. For it is written: “These are 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. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut” (Revelation 3:7, 8 NIV).
Do you find this hard to believe? Then look at the evidence found in Scripture itself. Turn your eyes to Isaiah 45:1 where King Cyrus is called the anointed one (Messiah) of God. God speaks of taking hold of his right hand “to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut.” The purpose of God in this is made clear when God said, “He [Cyrus] will rebuild my city and set my exiles free” (v. 13).
The amazing truth about this prophecy is that God had made mention of Cyrus’ name 200 years before he arrived on the scene. The closed door for one entire nation was opened by God through this king. He was not one who knew God in a real sense (v. 4); yet God moved his heart to open the door for the Jewish people to return to their land (2 Chronicles 36:23, Ezra 1:1–4).
So also will God do for you. He not only knows your future, but also he has kept ready the channels through which he will open doors for you. It is here that you need to acknowledge the sovereignty (absolute rule) of God. He can move through the most unlikely channels to accomplish His purposes for you. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases” (Proverbs 21:1 NIV).
Nowhere else is this truth so clearly shown than in the life of Mordecai. Wicked Haman had built a seventy-five feet high gallows, and the next day he was going to ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on it. But Scripture records, “That night the king could not sleep” (Esther 6:1). This was God’s hand. From that moment, we find the decline of wicked Haman and the rise to power of Mordecai. But there is more to be seen in this incident. It was God’s saving act through which he rescued the entire Jewish people from total destruction at the hands of wicked Haman.
At the same time, did you note the timing of events. A powerful king lost his sleep at just the right time. It caused yet another door of salvation to open for the Jewish people. It came unexpectedly. It came when evil seemed to have triumphed.
So also it was with David. There came a time when he was about to be captured by King Saul when Saul heard a report that Philistines were raiding the land and he had to break off the pursuit of David (1 Samuel 23:26b-28 NIV). The life of David would have been a closed chapter had not God intervened at that moment when disaster was about to strike him. This timely help came because God had promised David the throne of Israel; the foundation of the Messianic kingdom. As long as God’s promise stood the curtain could not fall on David’s life.
So closed doors are not the end of the journey for you. Instead they should encourage you to see God behind them. He is the One who opens and closes doors; people and circumstances merely obey His will. And when all hope seems lost and the clock seems to run against you, He’ll intervene to save you and help you move on forward. So praise God for all closed doors. They are the work of His hands.
Now there is the question, “Why God allows closed doors in the life of a Christian?” One definite answer is that God waits for the right moment to act. He waits for the exact moment when His preparation of the person who is to be exalted is complete. He waits also for the right moment when outside circumstances are most favourable for the exaltation of His chosen man for the hour. To understand that we need to know how God acts. At the right time; the time of His choosing, He acts swiftly. “I am the LORD; in its time I will do this swiftly.” (Isaiah 60:22b NIV). So delays in opening closed doors are effective ways through which God moulds a person to be the right fit for the position to which He will exalt him.
Joseph is a classic example. For a moment let’s imagine that Joseph was released as soon as the chief cupbearer left prison (Genesis 40:23). If so, would you ever have heard of Joseph? No, not at all. The story of Joseph would have ended there. He would have found some job somewhere; to be heard of no more. But that was not God’s purpose for him. He was the key to the survival of an entire nation from which the Messiah would come. Therefore God delayed Joseph’s release from prison two full years from the time of the cupbearer’s release (Genesis 41:1) so that circumstances might be right for the exaltation of Joseph. But when the time came, God acted so swiftly that Joseph barely had time to shave and change his clothes to become the governor of the land (Genesis 41:14)!
Then again a closed door is one way of God telling you to move on in a different direction. In the Acts of the Apostles there is a striking example recorded for us. Paul and his companions were kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. They were yet again prevented from entering Bithynia by the Spirit of Jesus. So they went to Troas where during the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him to go there (see Acts 16:6-10). That was God’s method of letting them know that they were to move to a new place to proclaim the gospel.
As for you now, is the Spirit of of God preventing your attempts to do His work at some place? Look ahead, the harvest has been appointed elsewhere.
That brings us to the matter of prayer. Are closed doors and prayers linked? In the Acts of the Apostles again we find the story of James and Peter. James was beheaded by Herod and he put Peter also in prison intending to bring him to trial. The Scripture records, “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him” (Acts 12:5 NIV). The night before Herod was to bring him to trial [note also the timing of events once again], an angel of the Lord appeared to Peter, woke him up and led him out of prison. The chains fell off him and the iron gate leading into the city opened for them by itself.
Though God has not said that in all situations such miraculous deliverances will occur, such examples encourages us to pray more when we are faced wih closed doors in our lives. Earnest prayer does open closed doors in miraculous fashion. Here the church, the body of believers, were praying in earnest. This is a vital lesson indeed. Most Christians who do not spent time in prayer usually do so when they’re up against a closed door. So thank God for closed doors in your life. They’re God’s invitations to you to pray. Doors open even as prayers are answered. Somehow or the other, once again prayer is revealed to us as active in God’s scheme of things on earth.
The final thought is a simple one. A closed door is sometimes a place of safety. One overlooked truth in Scripture is this line, “The LORD shut him in” (Gen 7:16b). The door of the ark was made by Noah at God’s command. But it was God who shut him in. Dear child of God, do not forget that God remembers (8:1) and brings out (8:15, 16, 18) safely all He has shut in!