Open doors in life mean opportunity, progress and promotion. But unexpectedly certain open doors close. It leaves you desperate. Then you cry out, “O my God, where are you? Is it all over for me? Open one door for me. Give me a sign of your goodness.1”
This cry comes from desperation. But you as God’s child need to be better informed about closed doors. They do not mean that it is the end of the road for you. They do not mean that God has stopped caring for you. But it means quite the opposite. You need to understand the loving care with which God closes doors in your life.
Do not be surprised; you should know for sure that it is God who opens and closes doors in your life. As long as you think it is some human being or institution that does it you are going to be sadly mistaken. If you trust in Jesus; He is the one who opens and closes doors in your life: “What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open” (Revelation 2:7b NIV).
Therefore, be sure and fully convinced that the closed doors in your life are His doing. You need not blame anyone for that. You need not curse your circumstances. The best thing to do is to thank God for closing those doors in your life. Is that easy to do? Not at all. But that is the best thing you can do!
Now, if you are convinced that it is God who closes doors, you are ready to think of why He does so:
God closes doors so that you can change directions.
Many times you keep on doing what you do all your life. But God might certainly have better things in store for you. Since you are comfortable doing what you are now doing and good at it; you will never think about changing directions at all. You will never even give it a passing thought.
So to get your attention, God will close doors in your face. He will not allow them to be opened again for you however hard you try. It is only then that you will listen to what God has to say to you. He might whisper to you to try something new, to take up a new job, apply for a promotion etc. Now you are ready to hear and obey.
Earlier, when the sailing was smooth, you were happy cruising along. Now that you are without a ship to sail; you will start looking for the next ship, maybe a small boat for the time being, that God has kept ready for you.
For example, in the life of Elijah, God provided him with bread and meat through ravens. And He provided him with water from the brook. But then some time later the brook dried up. That was a door that closed on him. Now God had his attention. A new command then came to him to go at once to Zarephath where God had commanded a widow to provide for him.
That was a new direction in his life. But he was made ready to listen and obey because of a closed door in his life (Ref. I Kings 17:2–9).
Again, the most important thing was that God had closed a door and opened another door for him. So closed doors in your life are God’s attention-grabbers. Thank God for them. He is pointing you to a new direction in life. It’s going to be exciting.
God closes doors so that you can learn to pray more.
Isn’t it true that doors that are open never inspire you to pray much? That is simply because you take them for granted. You do not give it a second thought. You may be thankful for it; but not consciously giving thanks to God for it. But when the door closes, you suddenly become aware of how much it had meant to you.
You feel with awesome helplessness the immovable strength of a closed door shut in your face.Then, in sheer helplessness, you hit the dust on your knees. And you cry out, “O God, help me!” The cry echoes in emptiness. You will feel the pain of rejection. You cry out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?2” Still no answer. All is darkness. You feel despair. You feel gnawing emptiness. But you have no other way.
You continue to pray until there comes an assurance in your heart that God has heard. His peace settles in your heart. Now you can eagerly expect God to open some door for you. But the moments just before the door opens are the toughest for it is said that the darkest hour is just before dawn. That means, that the time before you receive the answer to prayer is the darkest. It is then that you need to pray more.
In the Bible we find Daniel in the land of Babylon. He was taken there with the Israelites as captive in war. They were there seventy years. As those years were coming to a close, Daniel understood from the Book of Jeremiah 3 that their captivity was coming to an end (Ref. Daniel 9:2).
He did not dance about when he understood that. But he prayed with all his heart. He confessed his sins and the sins of his fathers (Ref. Daniel 9:4–19); for if there is sin in one’s heart God would not hear prayer 4. And there came a King named Cyrus who ordered the survivors of the captives to go back to Jerusalem 5.
Thus Daniel prayed intensely in the darkest hour just before the dawn of their freedom. And they got it. And Daniel lived to see the doors of freedom open!
So closed doors teach you to pray more. They grip your heart with such force that you pray like you’ve never prayed before. And when doors open; you will thankfully realize that you have moved up another level in the prayer ladder. Therefore pray with all your might when doors close on you.
God closes doors so that you will stop trusting in man.
It is only when you have knocked at closed doors that you understand that the help of man cannot be trusted. It is during such times you come to know the true character of those whom you expected would help.
You might have been given hope day after day by their soothing words of promise. Until one day you found them telling you not to trouble them anymore. Then you felt the pain of being let down; the pain of having been deceived into believing those words which gave you false hopes.And now you are alone!
But Someone stands alongside, waiting for you to realize that He is standing by. Closed doors do help you to see Him stand by your side. Many times He knocked at your heart to tell you that He is willing to help. But then your eyes and hopes were set on those men who had promised to help. So you never heard His knocking. You never opened the doors for Him.
Now that you find every door closed; you are ready to listen to Him. It is now you are ready to say along with the Psalmist: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm” (Psalm 20:7,8 NIV).
Now you are ready to get rid of those chariots and horses in which you trusted. And now you are ready to see God open doors for you. So closed doors compels you to stop trusting in man. It helps you see that God alone can open doors for you.
God closes doors so that you will wait for His time.
In the wisdom of this world any time is right. In the eyes of this world there is no concept like waiting for God’s specific time. But when God deals with you, His child, He often closes doors so that you will wait for His right time.
You have to know that there are many reasons why God would do this. He does it to prepare circumstances. He prepares them in such a fashion that it will be to your best advantage when His time comes. If you act before His time it will be like plucking an unripe fruit. He knows when it is going to be ripe and ready to be eaten. He closes doors so that you will not pluck the unripe fruit. He will open them only when it is ripe. Then it will be to your best advantage.
In the Bible we see this in the life of Joseph. He was put in prison. There he interpreted the dreams of two men. He told one of them, the chief cup-bearer of the king, to remember him when all goes well with him. Joseph also asked him to mention him to Pharaoh and to get his release from prison. Even though the chief cup-bearer was restored to his position, the Bible says that he did not remember Joseph but forgot him.
Two full years passed by. Joseph might have lost hope that the cup-bearer would get him out of prison. But then God’s time came. Pharaoh had dreams. Nobody could interpret them. Then the chief cup-bearer remembered Joseph. Immediately, Joseph was brought out of prison. And he became Governor of the land.
It all happened quickly. So also it can happen to you if you wait for God’s time. Joseph tried to make his release come in his own time. But God closed the door then. He opened it after two years. This was because God had now prepared the circumstances. Now Joseph became the governor of the land.
Have you ever thought what would have happened if Joseph got his release two years ago? He would have got his freedom only to become somebody’s slave again!
So closed doors teach you to wait for God’s time.
God is preparing you for the task ahead while you wait behind closed doors.
This is a more important process that happens to you while you wait for God’s time–God is preparing you for the task ahead. God knows what qualities and strength of character you need to be able to handle the honor that you will be given when He opens doors. For that He allows you to pass through difficulties behind closed doors.
All the waiting, all the hardships and all the misunderstanding and ridicule that you are facing now is building muscles of steely-faith in your mind. You are being molded and shaped by God to meet your glorious destiny. The more tough your closed door; the greater the exaltation God has planned for you.
You can know this lesson from Joseph’s life itself: “And he sent a man before them–Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true. The king sent and released him, the ruler of the peoples set him free. He made him master of his household, ruler over all he possessed, to instruct his princes as he pleased and teach his elders wisdom” (Psalm 105:17–22 NIV).
The dream of greatness was God’s promise to Joseph. And He prepared him behind closed doors to give him the exaltation that was promised earlier. So closed doors guard God’s preparation ground to make you ready for the greatness that He has kept in store for you!
The Open Door
Finally, you have to really [think hard] on a claim that Jesus makes: “See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut” (Revelation 3:8a NIV).
It is often found that when you see the possibility of a door opening you also start doubting. Most of these doubts are silly. But during this time they appear large and threatening. At this time if you start believing the doubts you will not enjoy the blessing of the open door.
Points to remember:
It is God who opens and closes doors.
Closed doors signals change and points to new directions.
Closed doors is an incentive to pray more.
Closed doors prevents trust in man.
Closed doors make you await God’s time.
God closes prepare you for the task ahead.
What God opens no one can shut.
Closed doors are a blessing.
1 Psalm 86:17a NIV
2 Psalm 22:1a NIV
3 Jeremiah 25:11
4 Psalm 66:18
5 2 Chronicles 36:22–23, Ezra 1:1—4
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