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Topic: Doors (04/05/04)
TITLE: Closed doors and battering rams
By Stanley McMahon
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“When God closes a door He will open a window.” Nice one. That’s a spiritual catchphrase we hear time and again applied to our disappointments. It tells us, “Don’t fret, something else will turn up.” But shouldn’t we take God’s sovereign will more seriously? Maybe he closes a door of opportunity simply because He doesn’t want us to go that way. Our problem lies in the fact that it is quicker to look for the open window immediately after the shut door than to wait on the Lord. The “closed door, open window” is typical of our superficial spirituality in our quick-fix culture.
Sometimes the shut door is an excuse for us not to face our fears. A number of years ago I was offered a two year position in a church. I was in my twenties and just about to finish Bible College and marry my young lady. A few weeks before we got married, I travelled down to the church for an interview. At the time I didn’t drive and so I was travelling down with one of my lecturers and spiritual mentor, Val. The church was still some hours away and we were getting hungry after already having been on the road for four hours. Val did a U-turn on the wide road of the rural village we had just entered but didn’t see the car coming at speed. It smashed into us and destroyed the car. Nobody was injured. About a week later I spoke again to the church, but by that time I had interpreted the crash as the Lord saying “No” emphatically, and slamming the door shut.
In retrospect, I feel it was fear hiding behind bad theology that made me choose not to take up the post. It certainly would have served me well as preparation for the work I have been involved in as a missionary church-planter.
Whether the closed door means the Lord has truly desired that we go in another direction or whether we just need to hammer the door down with the battering ram of faith and walk straight through, will be determined by our interpretation of the situation. Our ability to interpret correctly will be determined by our willingness to walk closely to the Lord, to listen to His voice and to “keep in step with the Spirit.” It’s not the doors, but the direction of our feet, and the condition of our hearts that’s the issue.