There Are Open Doors!
There may be times in life when it seems as if there are no more opportunities, that all the doors have closed. Have you ever experienced this? Perhaps you were turned down for your last hope of a job. Maybe you failed a really important test and now can't get into the college to earn the educational degree around which you've planned your life. Maybe your significant other, or even fiancé, has broken up with you.
When a door slams shut on us, it usually doesn't seem fair or right or just. We're tempted to feel hopeless, depressed, angry, frustrated, or vengeful -- perhaps understandably so. But none of these feelings helps open the doors.
So what do we do when we face closed doors? We read in the Bible:
I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. (Rev 3:8)
All the doors are not shut. There's at least one open door. What a comforting thought! God is holding a door open for us, providing us with a plan for our lives, showing us wonderful opportunities. We don't have to give up hope. Nor do we need tons of strength. We just need a little, enough to keep us faithfully obeying God, enabling us to walk through the open door.
But what if we don't see the open door? Have we been staring at the closed door, wondering why it closed, trying to force it open, or holding onto it because we don't know what else to do? Maybe we've been hanging onto relationships too long; or trying to change into someone we're not to please someone else (a friend, teacher, boss, etc.); or giving up because we've been turned down too many times. Fixating on loss doesn't move us forward in life. And life is all about movement -- the movement of God in our lives.
To see the doors that God has opened for us and to move forward through them, we may want to consider the following:
- Accept that certain doors have been closed (when this acceptance will move us forward).
- Be willing to walk away from an opportunity, path, career, relationship, education, etc. that we thought was what we wanted, what was best for us, or what we needed.
- Let go of the closed door. Let go of our preconceived expectations for our lives and our personal and professional relationships. We can't move forward if we're holding onto the past.
- Listen to God telling us what steps we must take to achieve what God wants for our lives, which means we can stop outlining.
- Give our dreams, goals, and innermost desires to God (not give them up necessarily, unless that's what comes to us to do through prayer and inspiration), and let God take care of them.
- Ask God for guidance.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Matt 7:7, 8)
What happens when we ask, seek, and knock? We find doors that open to us. Our persistence in good is rewarded. We also discover that God is blessing us in ways we hadn't even imagined, as the prophet explains:
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Mal 3:10)
When we turn and face God, we find God's abundant blessings -- and then some! But that's how God operates -- out of abundance, not out of lack. See, God expects us to fill His storehouse, to put God first, to rely totally on God. Our role is not idle; it's divinely inspired movement. The psalmist says, "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law" (Ps 119:18). Being open to God, having a receptive attitude, enables us to be ready, willing, and eager to receive God's bountiful blessings.
In this receptive state of thought, we also discover that situations we thought were hopeless are actually full of hope, promise, and healing -- just as the prophets, the master, and the disciples proved.
- Are we open enough to God that we trust in His disposal of events as strongly as Elisha did when the Syrians were after him? When it looked like he was surrounded, Elisha saw the chariots of fire and prayed that his servant's eyes would be "open" so he, too, could see their protection (II Kings 6:8-23).
- Are we getting a clear understanding of God and God's children as the master did? Jesus opened the eyes of the blind, freed the tongue of the dumb, raised the dead back to life, and much more.
- Are we praying as vigorously as Peter and the disciples did for his release from prison? An angel answered their prayers, appeared, and led Peter out of prison (Acts 12:5-11).
- Are we as open and clear about God's direction as Paul and Silas were when their prison doors were opened, enabling them to walk out of prison? Rather than flee, they stayed to spare the prison guard's life, transformed his life, and then were freed (Acts 16:23-40).
And if there are many doors that present themselves to us, we don't have to let the fear of walking through the wrong door keep us from walking through any door. Rather, we can be thankful for the abundant opportunities and know that, like the prophet, we can hear "a word behind [us], saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" (Isa 30:21).
If we walk down a path that we discover is not the best one for us, there's nothing forcing us to keep walking into darkness. We can turn around, face the light of God, and seek and find a different door. Although we may wish we had very clear, detailed information, we don't need to know what every door looks like, nor do we need to know when or how we're going to find one. We can simply walk through the door God is revealing to us now.
When we have a heart full of gratitude for all that God is and all that God does for us, then we have an open heart -- a heart that's truly able to receive God's blessings and make use of them. As we are welcoming God into our lives, God is welcoming us into the kingdom of heaven through open doors.