CENTRAL THINGS                   Closed Doors are a Blessing

I want to share what I shared with Trinity’s Council this past month. It is devotional and it is informational.

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'' (Psalm 86:17a - paraphrased). 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 to you, 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).

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!

Convinced, then, that it is God who closes doors, you can be ready to think of why he does so.


1.                  God closes doors so that you can change directions.

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 (c.f. 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.


2.                  God closes doors so that you can learn to pray more.

Daniel was taken with the Israelites, as a captive in war, to the land of Babylon for seventy years. As those years were coming to a close, Daniel understood from the Book of Jeremiah (25:11) 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. Then King Cyrus ordered the survivors of the captives to go back to Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 36:22--23, Ezra 1:1—4). 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.


3.                  God closes doors so that you will stop trusting in man and man’s way of looking at things.

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. You feel the pain of being let down and of being deceived into believing those words which gave you false hopes. Now you are alone! Yet, 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. Your eyes and hopes were set on those people 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). Now you are ready to see that God alone opens doors for you.


4.                  God closes doors so that you will wait for His time

Waiting is a lost skill in the wisdom of this world. Waiting for God's specific time does not even occur. But when God deals with you, his child, he often closes doors so that you will wait for his right time. Maybe he does it to prepare circumstances that will be to your best advantage. If the door is left open, you might pluck an unripe fruit. God 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 cupbearer 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 cupbearer was restored to his position, the Bible says that he did not remember Joseph but forgot him.

For Joseph, two full years in prison passed before it was God's time. Joseph was brought out of prison to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams and he became Governor of the land. After two years, God had prepared the circumstances for Joseph to become the governor of the land.

So closed doors teach you to wait for God's time.


5.                  God is preparing you for the task ahead while you wait behind closed doors.

There is a more important process that happens 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. 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.

So closed doors guard God's preparation ground to make you ready for the greatness that he has kept in store for you!

Now you can rejoice when God closes doors. For closed doors are a blessing to you.

So, why do I bring this up? I have had a door closed on me.

Luther Seminary’s accreditation standards require, for graduation, students, both traditional and Distributive Learning, to have a minimum number of 10 “residential courses” – classes taken on campus. I have been informed that I do not have enough to graduate this May. To make up for this deficit, I need to take five courses on campus which include one course on Missions. So I have added two half courses this Spring for a total of 5.0 courses (Maximum load) and will have to take 4.0 courses more to fulfill the requirement. I will be taking the Summer off from classes to finish my approval essay in preparation for seminary and synod interviews. This also will allow me to focus on new as well as current members. However, this puts my graduation off until December 2015. Thus, my reflection on “closed doors as a blessing.” I believe God is preparing something special for me that is in the process of ripening. Perhaps God has changed his mind and is setting a new course of ministry for me. This closed door has opened doors for taking a couple courses on Small Town and Rural ministry, which after all is my deepest love for ministry. I must abide by God’s timeline and be patient, because as we know, “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).


This will not affect Trinity’s call process and the call committee should proceed as planned. I know God will redeem my situation as God will Trinity’s call process. However, I ask for the congregation to keep both me and Trinity in their prayers continuously so all may discern God’s calling in all of this.

Blessed Easter Season.

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