Life Lesson 37: Despite our best efforts, discouragement is inevitable. But having a relationship with Jesus Christ…
Life Lesson 6: God is in control of my life. Nothing I went through and will ever go through is a surprise to Him. He opens and closes every door. He has a great plan for my life and it's in every step I take.
I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. –Revelation 3:8 (NIV)
Driving through a desirable neighborhood, Mary suddenly comes upon a beautiful house with an immaculate lawn, seasonal spring plants and the most well-designed landscaping she ever saw. The curb appeal was so tempting, she had to stop her car and admire the layout. Finally, she mustered the courage to get out of her car, walked up to the front door and rang the doorbell. After waiting a couple of minutes, the homeowner opened the door with a perplexed look and asked, “Can I help you?” As Mary stood in amazement, she noticed behind the woman who answered the door, a sprawling, luxurious living room. Intrigued, Mary introduced herself and told her she was passing by and just wanted to stop in to say how much she admires her lawn and wanted to know more about her gardener. Not in the mood for company, let alone a stranger who looked nothing like her neighbors, the homeowner ordered Mary off her property, threatened to call the authorities, and slammed the door shut in Mary’s face. Shocked and embarrassed, Mary quietly walked back to her car feeling dejected. As she slowly drove away, she peered in her rare view mirror at the beautiful lawn, wishing her lawn looked just like it. She questioned in her mind if she had made a mistake in stopping. What was it she did or said that made the homeowner reject her? Was it the way she was dressed? Was it the way she presented herself? Was it her speech, her hair, her skin color, her perfume? As she pondered those questions, she began to doubt her intentions and her ability to present herself well.
Mary’s story may be a bit farfetched, but certainly not unusual. At one time or another, we have all encountered closed doors. For some of us, more times than we care to admit that we’ve experienced one closed door after another. When a door closes, it’s often hard to accept, let alone comprehend. We may even at times feel compelled to go knock at the door again, thinking “they may not have heard me the first time, let me give it another try. Perhaps this time the homeowner will give me a chance and let me in; the manager or company may hire me.”
From our vantage point, we can only see a very small portion of the whole house. Because we don’t have a vision of its entirety, we can’t see what lies behind the closed door. Only our Sovereign God in all His Majesty has the ability to see the “big picture,” and out of His great love, always protects us from what may be lurking behind that door. Even though we may not understand right away, and really, we may never understand, God knows what’s best for us and may choose to close or keep a door closed to protect us and to lead us into His perfect will.
When the door closes, it’s easy to get frustrated and perplexed at what’s going on. We sometimes sink into despair, wondering, asking, and doubting our abilities. You may even question why all the doors you knocked on didn’t open, and if a door did open, why would it suddenly close? You may even be tempted to ask, “Why me and why can’t I catch a break?” Even the doors that seem so promising at first quickly shut like a sharp bang. At times, you may even be standing at the door, anxiously waiting with every passing minute, hoping that the door of a certain job or business opportunity, with any luck, may open. Wait! Did I say “luck.” Is that what it takes or is there a greater force at work in our circumstances? In Proverbs 20:24, we see that God is the one who orders our steps. Scripture tells us that “Man’s steps are ordained by the Lord, how then can man understand his way?” We can never understand the plans of God because His ways are infinite. In His Word, God declares, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways” (Isaiah 55:8). I bet my life on it because I believe the providential hands of God are tirelessly at work in the lives of His children, ordering our steps to come into line with His predetermined purpose for our lives.
If you’re sometimes as stubborn as I am, it may take some time to realize God’s divine will is at work in your life. It took me a while, but thank God, He hasn’t given up on me. He is always patient and loving as He gently leads me to the point where I now understand why He didn’t allow the doors I knocked on to open and why He closed the ones I never anticipated would ever close. I now peacefully accept closed doors knowing that God is in control. I never thought I would say this, but I’m now in a place where I’m so grateful for closed doors because they help me to move forward into my God-given purpose. My prayer is that as you journey through your God-led path, you too will embrace the closed doors along the way with confidence and trust in God’s perfect plan and purpose for your life.
The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. –Proverbs 16:9 (NASB)
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