September 17, 2011

the closed door

"when one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us." helen keller

there are many characters from books and movies that i can relate to and identify with, and one of those characters is maria from "the sound of music." i'm pretty sure i have the ability to outpester any pest and to drive a hornet from its nest, and i'm sure that i've been referred to as a flibbertijibbet a time or two, but more than anything, i understand the desire to look for the open window after GOD has closed a door.

i'm a planner. i'm a fixer. i'm a doer. and i like to make things happen, especially in my own life. and so the minute a door closes in my life, i tend to start scanning the room, determined to discover the perfect and suitable window that is even better than the door. but as i'm getting older and as different doors of my life have closed and are closing, i'm learning a profound and different truth:

sometimes GOD's gift is not the next open window; sometimes the gift is the closed door.

i've heard it said that "there are two ways of being unhappy: one is not getting what you want, and the other is getting what you want," and i believe it to be true. as humans, we just can't seem to find a steady state of contentment. sometimes we don't get the very thing we wanted, only to be disappointed and upset. other times we get exactly what we wanted, only for our minds to change as soon as we get it. and sometimes we just simply don't know what we want. but in our constant state of restless wandering, running through all kinds of different doors and windows, GOD does us such a huge favor by closing the doors and providing us some direction.

sometimes the door that we thought would open to a big, bright room of possibility is in reality a door only leading to a closet, going nowhere and ending with a wall. sometimes we realize that the big, strong oak door that we admired for so long from far away is in reality nothing but faux wood after taking a closer look. and sometimes when GOD closes the door, keeping us from what we want, HE is preparing the path that will lead us to what we need.

the truth is that we never know what GOD is actually sparing us by closing the door, and hindsight usually is 20/20. whether it's only a few weeks later or a couple of years, it's usually only a matter of time before we're shouting a "thank YOU, LORD," for protecting us from that! and that's because GOD in his greatness already knows our plans. HE is greater than our hearts. and as much as we might complain and truly hurt over the closing of the door, HE knows that by providing the closure, HE is providing protection from getting trapped in the wrong room.

and even worse than an obviously closed door is a door that leaves us wondering whether it is really closed or if it might still be open. and we wait and wait, hoping that there is some chance that it will still be cracked and might miraculously swing back open instead of finding the bright and apparent window in the middle of the room leading us to our freedom.

but when it comes to finding the open window, reading GOD can be tricky. because the same GOD that led us to the closed door is now leading us to the window that might end up doing the same thing. sometimes the open window seems to become apparent immediately. and other times we have to be careful to make sure that the window is in fact open and not just really, really clean.

but every closed door prepares us for the open window to come. every wrong turn. every broken lock. every funky knob is telling us that that particular door is not our door and to keep searching. whether it be the loss of a job. or the loss of a relationship. whether it be a sudden change in circumstances. or a sudden change of heart. whether it be the rejection of a new future. or the rejection because of a former past. whether it be the betrayal of a friend. or the betrayal of yourself, every closed door, whether it be suddenly slammed or gently shut, is just leading to the right window.

and sometimes instead of immediately looking for the next open window, we need to just take a moment to breathe and to thank GOD for graciously shutting the door. to take a moment of silence. to do a dance of victory. to shout a long hallelujer! to rejoice and be glad because GOD gave us a gift by closing the door. and when we think about the magnitude of GOD knowing us and loving us enough to give us the desires of our hearts and yet to protect them at the same time, we must feel confident in HIS closure.

so today i choose to praise GOD for all of the things that i will never even realize that HE is sparing me from: the heartaches, the struggles, the fears, the anxieties, the troubles, and the problems of choosing the wrong way. and every day when i pray for the clarity to discover the open window, i will try to remember to thank GOD for the closed door.

1 comment:

  1. Very, very, VERY wise words.