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I sat with my computer on my lap and Google at my fingertips. Surly this search would come up fruitful and all of my heart troubles would be alleviated by one confirmation from the ever knowledgeable, all knowing search engine. I typed in this phrase into the little box with the eyeglass...
When God shuts a door, He opens a window.
After years of seeing this phrase on those cutesy little posters with kittens perched on windows, I was for sure this tidbit of wisdom was straight up truth from the Bible. Right? Weren’t there songs in the 90’s on our mixed tapes that assured us that when we sat in front of a closed door, God would absolutely open a window of bigger and better opportunities?
My friend Google kindly dropped the news to me... “When God closes a door, He opens a window” is not, in fact, in the Bible. I’m not sure what concerned me more: that this well-known Christian cliché was not in the Word or the fact that I had no good reason for my season of camping out in front of that proverbial closed door.
Three months prior, I sat dreaming and planning and creating my agenda. As I made moves to set these dreams and plans into motion, I abruptly received “no’s” or “not right now” or “no way!” The echo of those doors slamming in my face rings in my ears to this day. After a couple of months and a hurt heart, I couldn’t help but recognize the Lord was doing something here. I wasn’t sure what He was up to but I knew this was pivotal moment in my life and in my understanding of who He is. You see, I’m am really good at kicking doors open and making things happen. At the beginning of my closed door season I stood ready with my super cute cowboy boots ready to kick the doors open and make my dreams and plans come true. But when my “feet” grew tired of kicking to no avail, I surrendered.
Lord, I get it. You have me in front of a “no.” I will sit here and wait. I will not pop my head up to peek around for that open window in which I was for sure you would open right now. Have your way. I surrender.
That one prayer changed it all. God showed me that what He would do IN me during this season of waiting is of more value than what He would or would not do WITH me. I found freedom in that moment to lay my dreams and plans and agenda in front of the closed door and began to seek after God. I mean, really seek after Him through His word and through intentional prayer and worship.
Have you found yourself with the echo of closed doors –– “no’s” and “not yet’s” and “no way!”? Can I take a moment to encourage you straight from experience? Embrace it! Take some time to prayerfully ask God...
I timidly asked these questions, too. When we are licking our wounds from closed doors it certainly isn’t fun to go deep with the Lord and seek out the greater purpose. Our Father knows our hopes and dreams. He also has a greater Kingdom purpose and plan and in His sovereign ways, the Lord melds the two together all the while holding our tender heart. Our job is to sit, wait, and obediently trust His ways. This is the Scripture that convinced me this inward work is just as exciting and valuable as my hopes and dreams––what God would hopefully do WITH me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”(John 15: 5-11)
As I abided, sat ever close to Jesus, He did His work in me. Sometimes the pain was unbearable. Oh but His gentle hand. All in love...
He rooted out pride.
He rooted out my obsession with control.
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He rooted out pride some more.
Simply abide. Take some time to soak in His truth. Sit with Jesus in prayer and allow God to use your season of waiting to take you to a new level of faith, trust, love, mercy, joy...whatever it is that He is doing IN you. It will be so worth it. Trust me. I’ve been through it and made it to the other side. I’m better for it and so will you be, my friend!
Sarah Martin is a wife, mom, mentor, friend, author, speaker and wanna-be artist. When she is not typing away on her laptop,on date nights with her husband or shooting hoops with her son she is most likely getting her hands messy with paint. Read more from Sarah in her new book, Just RISE UP!: A Call To Make Jesus Famous. www.liveitoutblog.com.