When has a door closed in your life? Every one of us has experienced closed doors …when a loved one dies and a chapter of our lives ended; when a job or a relationship did not work out as we hoped; or when we hoped for a “yes,” but a person said, “No!” Sometimes doors close unexpectedly. An older friend called me recently who was hoping for surgery to give her some relief from nagging pain. But…the doctor told her that because of her advanced age and weakened condition, he will not operate. The door to surgery closed…leaving her bitterly disappointed.
The Apostle Paul knew all about disappointment. He wanted to go to Asia, but “the Spirit of Jesus would not allow him to go.” God did not open the door. Out of the blue, Paul had a dream in which a man of Macedonia said, “Come over and help us.” So…Paul went to Macedonia (Europe) rather than to Asia. And, the doors opened wide to Macedonia! (Read the rest of the story in Acts 16.) In Philippi, the gospel spread through a wealthy businesswoman, named Lydia, who opened the door of her heart to God, and through the Philippian Jailer, who encountered God when the door to Paul’s prison cell opened wide.
[tweetable]Although we want to understand the open and closed doors of our life, they are a mystery. Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish theologian, says, “We live our lives going forward, but we understand them looking back.” It is only when we look back on our lives that we have a glimpse of God’s greater purposes and why some doors open and others close.
Here’s the truth. God is the hinge on the doors of life that opens some doors and closes others. To be honest, my work with pastors called, Macedonian Ministry, (named for the text in Acts 16:9) came out of a closed door in my life. If a door to parish ministry had not closed for me, I would not have founded a ministry that is impacting pastors of sixteen different denominations across America and Scotland, too. Looking back on the open and closed doors of our lives helps us learn an important spiritual lesson that is best described in the words of the Inventor of the Telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, “When one door closes…another door opens…but we look so long and regretfully at the door that is closed, that we don’t even see the door that has opened to us.” A word to the wise: ask God to open our eyes so we don’t miss the doors that are opening to us…even today!