If you’ve been around long enough, I’m sure there has been a point where you’ve heard someone say, “When God closes a door, he opens a window.” The intent behind it is good. The person obviously means to encourage the person who is waiting for open doors and wanting them to keep their eyes fixed on Jesus. Which of us doesn’t need that? However, if the door doesn’t open are we really supposed to look for a window to scramble through? What about those times when there is no way out?
Closed doors are difficult for the person longing to get out and take on the world. Fulfilling God’s purpose for us is “out there” somewhere. Or that’s the idea when we believe that our significance is wrapped up in what we do. When doors don’t open in the timetable that we expect, we wonder what God is doing or we wonder what’s wrong with us. It must be punishment we tell ourselves.
Understand, I don’t write this from someone peering into a window looking in. I am on the inside, experiencing an ongoing 8 months of closed doors. As much as I would like for that door to open soon, there is something I’m realizing. The key to a room with closed doors not becoming stagnant, is taking in the fresh air of Christ. What if the goal is not to “get out and go” but to know and enjoy?
Sometimes we need all the doors closed in order to arrest our attention. Like kids with cabin fever, we find ourselves scrambling around trying to make things happen. As we tire, a still soft voice says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Now often, our response is “Ok, I’ve been still. I know. Now I want to go.” Being still is not easy in a fast paced world. There are more voices speaking into our lives than ever before through tweets, status updates and instant news. However, it’s the closed doors that give opportunity to focus on the voice that matters. And be still.
How long must we be still? God doesn’t give us the timetable. There is no formula for getting out of a room with closed doors. What I do know is that in those times of stillness, it is great opportunity to experience the sufficiency of Christ. There is a peace even in the midst of yearning because he can be trusted. He hasn’t forgotten.
Recently I was reading the words of Habakkuk:
“Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of
the olive fail and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold and there
be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the
Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my
feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my
From a results perspective, things are not good for Habakkuk. The rest of the book gives even more insight into how difficult things are. The desired outcomes are not coming to fruition. No blossoms, no fruit, no harvest, a lost herd (not to mention the injustice, wickedness & destruction). If there was ever a time to be frustrated and discouraged this would be it. Game over. Yet, the response is not one of desperation. Though the outcome is different then expected, there is still reason to rejoice and celebrate. Even in the midst of great difficulty. God is salvation and strength and leads the way. He is still personally involved, though the circumstances do not seem ideal. With God, there is joy regardless of the circumstances.
If you are waiting for the doors to open, don’t be so quick to scramble out the window. Be still. Breathe deeply the fresh, life giving air of who Jesus is and what he has done. Rest in knowing that he’s not done with you yet. There can be peace in the midst of waiting. There is peace in the midst of closed doors, for the work God has for you is first of all in you. Doors do not keep God from doing his work.