CLOSED DOORS! You have heard it and so have I. “Close the door. Were you born in a barn?” A rhetorical question to be sure but closed doors are an everyday thing that we all observe. Closed doors have many uses; these are so many that I don’t need to recount them here. But metaphorical closed doors are also real and they can apply to many things in our life. The loss of a job, the loss of a spouse through death or divorce, the loss of an opportunity in education or position, a change required by health, a deadline missed or many other things can be seen as a door being closed by God to many areas of life. Closed doors may be seen as good or bad in life depending on your relationship and reliance on God. Alexander Graham Bell said, “When one door closes, another opens, but we often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened to us.” I think that reaction is true of many people including Christians but all of us will face closed doors in our life at some time and how we respond is critical.
The Apostle Paul faced the same situations in his life that we experience in our life with closed doors. On his second missionary journey Paul and his companions were doing God’s work of preaching the gospel of Christ with great results. Then all of a sudden it seemed that the door that was so open for them to preach the gospel was closed in their face. “Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas,” (Acts 16:6-8 NIV). And there they stayed and waited. How long we do not know. Frustrated? Probably. Not totally understanding God’s plan? Probably. Still willing to serve God? Absolutely. Listening for God’s direction? Surely.
“During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us,’” (Acts 16:8-9 NIV). Paul could have looked regretfully at the closed doors and remained in Troas or he could have headed home frustrated his original intentions were not carried out or he could have formed plans of his own making. But Paul’s heart was open to God even when he faced closed doors and God opened up a new path and a new open door before him. We do not know how long Paul waited on God to open a new door for him but when God presented the open door Paul responded. “After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them,” (Acts 16:10 NIV). As Mr. Bell said, “When one door closes, another opens.” We do not always know why God closes doors but we do know God has a reason. Don’t keep staring at the closed door but move forward through the open door (Philippians 3:13). After all God has it planned for your good (Romans 8:28).