God Doesn’t Always Open the Door
You’ve no doubt heard the expression, “God doesn’t close one door without opening another.” I had always believed that until a few years ago. I have come to the conclusion that God may help you close a door or He may very well close it for you but He doesn’t always open another for you. He, instead, gives us several doors to choose from and lets us choose which door to open, which path we will take in life. As Christians we should face those doors with hope and faith in our hearts and through prayer we are able to choose the door that God has left unlocked for us. Sometimes we want to do things the hard way and choose the door that is locked with a lock that God Himself placed there so we’d know that is not the door He has meant for us to open. We’ll push and push until we get frustrated then with all of our might we’ll kick it down and enter it anyway. That’s when we discover that we really didn’t want to open that door afterall. We don’t like what’s behind it but we then have to deal with what we’ve found. That’s when most of us want to call upon God and beg for help and blame God for allowing us to open that door.
I remember several years back I had prayed and prayed and prayed about a certain situation…. but not for any specific outcome. I found it was just easier to pray to God that He do His will in my life. It was the easiest way for me to pray because whatever happened, I could just say, “Well I thought that’s what He wanted” and let God take the blame or get the glory for whatever happened. I couldn’t go wrong that way. But at the time it seemed as if everything was going wrong in my life. Actually, I was just opening the wrong doors. There were so many to choose from but if it was unlocked and easy to open, I didn’t want to walk through it. I seemed to always choose the one that was locked. I’d push and push and then kick it down. The struggle began with the door but it never ended there. I then had to deal with the demons behind the door. That’s where God came in. “Why have you done this to me God? I don’t understand why I have ended up here,” I’d pray. One day I was frustrated and explained this to a co-worker. Not just any co-worker, an older Christian. She asked, “Well, Jean have you prayed about it?” So I told her, “Of course I have. I prayed that God’s perfect will be done in my life and I guess this is what He wants for me. Why does He always make me struggle?” She then said something that has changed my life forever, something I will never forget but she probably wouldn’t even remember telling me, something she never knew changed me and the way I would see things from that day forward. She said, “If you don’t pray for specific things, you may not get what you want. But if you pray for God’s will in your life, you have to be prepared for what He has in store for you. You have to be willing to listen to Him and follow His plan. He does know what’s best for you so if you choose not to pray for specific things, you have to be willing to listen to Him and go through the door He has left unlocked for you.” I’d never thought about it before in that way. I had been praying but taking the easy way out. I had been praying for His will in my life but when things started to take me in the direction of the unlocked door, I’d walk away and start pushing against the locked door. It was something I would do without even realizing it. I knew what I wanted, but I also knew in my heart that what I wanted and what God wanted for me probably were not the same things. So I’d make things happen the way I wanted them to then I’d blame God for allowing it. How could He let me walk through that door after all I’d been through? I’d worked so hard to make it through just to have another door slam in my face. Why me God? Before my friend walked away she said, "Oh and by the way, when you pray, don't expect things to happen right away every time because sometimes his answer is simply 'wait' "!
From that day forward I realized that she was so right. I stopped kicking down those locked doors and instead pushed gently on the door. If it was locked, I’d walk on to the next one and the next one until I found the door that God left unlocked for me and then just walk on through. I won’t say that I have always found a road paved with gold or a rainbow at the end. We all know you have to have a little rain before you get to see the rainbow. But the path has always been a little smoother and I have been able to travel with less baggage. When I get to the end of the path and face more doors, I seem to be able to choose again the correct door to open. If I can’t do that right away, I can stop, take a breath, drop to my knees and pray. I have since learned to pray for specific things. But the trick to that, I’ve found, is that you have to pray for things that are right in the Lord’s eyes. You have to pray for things that you know God would want for you. As it says in Philippians 4: 6-7, “Be worried for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Sometimes I’m still not sure what I want and that’s when I pray for God to have His way in my life and for His perfect will in my life. Of course now I’m very careful to be willing to accept His plan and follow through with it no matter how I feel about it. Just trust in Him and He will see you through. If He brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it right?
As a Christian, if you rely on God and follow his path you’ll be able to look back and see that when times were hardest for you, your struggles made you stronger. When things didn’t seem to go the way you wanted, that may be because God didn’t want you to be there and He was helping you to see that you may have opened the wrong door and He wants you to turn around and choose another door. Or He may have let you go through that door and face the challenge head on so you could become stronger through your struggles and learn to make better choices.
Have you ever heard the story about the child and the butterfly? I don’t know who wrote it, how long ago I read it, where I read it, or exactly how it goes but I can give you a good summary of the story because the moral of the story stuck in my head. It goes something like this. A child came across a butterfly struggling to get out of his cocoon and seeing this troubled the child. So he decided to help the butterfly by opening the cocoon to let him out. The butterfly was never able to fly and didn’t live very long. The child was discouraged and went to his Father and explained to him what had happened. The Father said, “My son, while you thought you were doing the butterfly a favor by helping him out, you actually took away his chance to live.” The child did not understand and had more questions. The Father continued to explain to the child that during the struggle to escape the cocoon, the butterfly’s wings are strengthened and that is how he is able to fly away once he has freed himself. It’s the same with us as children of God. We have to struggle to gain strength. With every struggle we become stronger if we trust in the Lord. That’s why He doesn’t stop us when we insist on opening the wrong door. As long as we learn from our mistakes and make better decisions next time, all is not lost. He will be right there waiting on the outside of that door when we walk back through and fall on our knees and pray for His guidance again. Just don’t forget that sometimes when we pray and we become impatient waiting for our “sign from God”, His answer may simply be “wait”.
Have you ever prayed for patience? Now there’s another story and lesson for another day!