As we look at discernment and how to know which way God is leading, we need to remember that sometimes God closes doors that are in front of us. Today we look at what to do when God closes those doors. Job went through a horrible trial. He lost his children, his livestock, his wealth, and his health. He ended up sitting in ashes treating his boils with the ashes and listening to his “friends” give him “counsel” which ended up not being wise counsel at all. At the end of Elihu’s “advice”, he leaves Job all alone, and then God speaks to Job and says, “Who enclosed the sea behind doors when it burst from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and total darkness its blanket, when I determined its boundaries and put its bars and doors in place, when I declared, ‘You may come this far, but no farther; your proud waves stop here’?” God is telling Job that He controls all that happens to him.
If we put ourselves in Job’s place, we can imagine that Job must have started to feel like God had left him to sit in his misery. Elihu had just told Job that God is so far away that He does not influence what happens to man. Elihu was no help at all to Job. God says to Job, “Who is this who obscures my counsel with ignorant words?” (Job 38:1 CSB). He reminds Job just Who He is, and what He can do. He questions Job, basically saying, “Who do you think set this world in place?” God is telling Job that Elihu was wrong in saying that God is far away and has no dealings with man.
On the contrary, God is incredibly involved with us and our daily lives. He opens and closes doors according to His Will and His purposes for our lives. Jeremiah tells us how involved God is in our lives. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
We can rest in the security of knowing that God knows just what He’s doing, and He has our times and lives in His Hands. He opens and closes doors to fulfill His plan for our lives. He has our best interest in mind. We pray and ask Him to direct our paths, (Proverbs 3:5-6) we even let Him know what the desires of our hearts are, (Psalm 37:4) but sometimes what we want, or desire may not be in His plan or timing may not be for our best and interest, so He closes that door.
Sometimes the doors are closed to teach us a lesson. As an example, my first husband, Allen, and I were unable to have children. I had a miscarriage and went immediately into premature menopause at the age of 30. I wanted to be a mother more than anything. We had tried adoption twice. The first time we tried, it fell through because of political issues in the country we were trying to adopt from. After several years I met a gentleman who had come to the TV station I worked at, to do a program about adopting children from a different country. Once again, that desire rose in me, and I wanted to try again. Allen wasn’t all that in favor of the idea by this time. We were married for well over 20 years and it had been many years since we had tried the first time, and Allen just wasn’t in agreement. I became very determined that we were going to try again, and in a state of rebellion prayed and told God that I was going through with it whether He wanted me to or not. We started the process, despite my husband’s objections. After we went through the home study and interview with the social worker, we were turned down and the door was firmly closed. In fact, God shut that door so hard and so fast, that there was no mistaking it as His answer to my rebellion. It took me awhile, but finally, I realized that I had been rebellious, and I needed to ask God’s forgiveness for my disobedience. Sometimes I wonder why we weren’t supposed to have kids. I will never know this side of Heaven, but I learned one valuable lesson…submit your will to God and accept His closed door.
Sometimes doors are closed due to timing or because God may have something better for us than what we desire. Patience is needed in those times. Right now, I’m going through the “wait” phase for something I have been praying for. The door is there, but it isn’t being opened easily. Maybe a crack, but not fully opened so that I can walk right through. I am not a patient person, and I’m having a hard time waiting. This is when I need to remember that God’s timing is not my timing, (Isaiah 55:9) and that God’s timing is perfect. (Psalm 31:15) I need to remember not to become discouraged, but to know that God has this all in His Hands, and He sees down the path farther than I can, so I must trust Him. If we get ahead of God, we walk in our own shadow and may not see the pathway that is best for us.
Are you facing a door that just doesn’t seem to be opening? Pray and ask Him to reveal His plan for your life, trust God, wait patiently, and know that God is in control. He wants only the best for you, and His purposes will be fulfilled in His timing.