A few months back my younger brothers got into a little bit of mischief. One night after church my parents and I went to eat at a restaurant while my brothers decided to go on home. My parents knew they had locked the doors to the home, and was certain my brothers would be calling soon enough for a way to get into the house. However, to my parents surprise my brothers was sitting in the home when they arrived so my mom asked, ” How did you get in, wasn’t it locked?” My brothers replied, ” You forgot to lock the doors, ” with a chuckle. My mom wakes the next morning to see their window screen panel to their bathroom laying on the ground outside. They knew at that moment they didn’t go through the door, but climbed through their window. Everyone thought it was funny as they played a joke on my parents making them think they was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s.
Unlike the prank my little brothers played on my parents we can’t force or manipulate our way through doors God has to open. We know God sees all, knows all, and is in control of all so therefore there are no short cuts/ detours we can take to get around the knowledge of God.“”Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.” (John 10:1-2 ESV) We simply are always walking by faith and not by sight, one door leading to another, and standing in hallways just waiting for the next door to open. Sometimes the doors are like those automatic ones at the grocery stores, just waiting on you to have the faith to walk up before they open.
Jesus and his disciples had a lot to say about doors/ gates throughout scripture, and doors are mentioned over 180 times. Many times the Apostle Paul would use ” an open door” describing an entrance way into cities to preach the gospel of Christ. Jesus described himself as ” The Door” meaning he was the only way to obtain salvation “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9 ESV) Jesus also used the analogy of a door to describe prayer with him. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
(Revelation 3:20 ESV)
“”Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
(Matthew 7:7-8 ESV)
This blog post is so very personal and emotional for me because I’m beginning to have clarity of what a closed door means, and God’s processes. If I can be completely raw today I’ve been so discouraged lately banging on a closed door questioning God why hasn’t he opened it yet. Why hasn’t he answered that prayer when he has the power to do so? Why hasn’t he delivered me from my present circumstances that seem they are choking the life out of me? I find myself daily falling on my face before God just trying to muster up enough strength to keep pressing forward. I’ve prayed to hear God’s voice, but I hear nothing. I have prayed for relief, and it got a little worse. I had thoughts of giving up the fight, but my heart/ will just wouldn’t let me do it.
I’ve prayed for God to use me, I’ve prayed for God to mold me, I’ve prayed for God to make me a better person, I’ve prayed for God to teach me his ways, to help me make the right decisions, to block things that wasn’t his will, and I’ve prayed for God to anoint me to pray/ minister to a lost world. However, the moment God started the work I was ready to opt out, because the process of purification is extremely uncomfortable. The moment God didn’t open the door I wanted I felt he didn’t care, when all along it was his protection not destruction. God told me to pray, comfort, and encourage his people when he knew I myself had a broken heart. God would give me words of encouragement to speak into other people’s lives, but no words would come my way. I’ve rejoiced with others as God performed miracles and answered their prayers as my situation remained the same. I would feel so guilty and ashamed to feel that way, but I couldn’t help wondering when would it be my turn.
So as this went on for so long and I began to pray for understanding God said, ” This is ministry.” One definition of ministry is ” ministry of the word,” which tells me even when one is hurting they still need to preach, speak, live, and breathe the word, because ministering has nothing to do with ones emotions. God can’t use some angry, bitter, arrogant, lying, depressed, selfish, prideful, loose tongued person. So instead he says I’m going to keep the door closed to that ministry, the next step/level, and that prayer prayed until I burn all of these impurities out so you can be witnesses of the light. Us singles desperately pray for a spouse, but if God was to bring them before the appropriate time we could possibly ruin everything with our attitude. So God says stand at the door, wait, and while you wait, serve.
It’s extremely difficult to find joy when all you’ve desired to come to pass hasn’t, and it just seems to be trial after trial. However, we can get so focused in on our lives moving forward we miss the most important details God has been trying to show us all along. It’s in the moments of pain that God reaches his hand down with compassion. Those times we feel so overwhelmed and frustrated God sustains our sanity. Times when people in the church our coming against us, and God says, ” Don’t defend yourself, because that’s my job.” It’s through the ministry of tears we truly learn God ways, and that he never forsakes so we must not give up!
I can’t seem to get away from Nehemiah chapter 9 here lately. As it goes down the list of all God had done for the children of Israel we see how they rebelled against the very one who was always there for them. The chapter paints a beautiful picture of how God was their deliverer, sustainer, protector, and then my favorite part, how merciful He is. Just when He should of gave up on them scripture tells us he sent them saviors to point them in the right direction. God will send us preachers, teachers, prophets, friends, etc. to help point us in the right direction when we don’t know his will.
“Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies.
Nevertheless for thy great mercies’ sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God.”
Nehemiah 9:27, 31 KJV
The door won’t stay closed forever however the timing of how long is dependent upon how quickly we allow the process to shape us. We must not curse the situation thinking it’s the enemy, it’s God, and he is trying to teach us some very important concepts. So today as we wait before the closed door pray for God to help you to see the things you need to change about yourself, and seek God with all your heart knowing when the time comes he will open the door.