Today’s devotional: when God does (and doesn’t) shut doors

Has God ever closed the door on an opportunity in your life? Maybe you don’t get the job you were hoping for, or a relationship doesn’t pan out the way you wanted. When Christians run into frustrations or obstacles, we often interpret those difficulties as a sign from God that this isn’t His will for us.

That may indeed be the case. But as this devotional from Nehemiah Ministries points out, sometimes we’re a little too quick to conclude that God is telling us “no”:

Scripture abounds with examples of those who found open doors at points when many would have concluded they were bolted shut. As we read through the Bible, we find numerous instances where individuals reached important horizons late in life, or after repeated tries, or in spite of extreme obstacles. Sarah conceives a child when both she and Abraham are elderly, and a number of years later Abraham remarries after Sarah dies. Isaac’s servants dig a well successfully after two major thwarted attempts. Joseph realizes his dream of leadership after years of servitude and imprisonment. Moses becomes a champion of his people forty years after his first passionate attempt utterly fails. David becomes king of Israel in spite of severe ridicule from his brothers, apathy from his father, and numerous battles with Saul’s forces. Hannah gives birth to many children long after her husband has accepted her barrenness and encouraged her to do the same. Ruth finds joy in a new marriage after her first husband dies; and Naomi, bereft of her husband and both sons, finds unexpected solace in a grandchild born to Ruth. Zechariah and Elizabeth are blessed with a child in their old age, and the angel declares that this gift is in response to their longstanding prayer.

It isn’t easy to determine whether a frustration is an obstacle we are meant to overcome, or a “closed door” from God—but the devotional goes on to talk about how to discern each situation.

Has this happened to you recently? Was the obstacle you encountered a test of faith to be endured, or was it a prompt from God to focus your attention elsewhere?

4 Responses to “Today’s devotional: when God does (and doesn’t) shut doors”

  • Sean Scott says:

    In those cited instances from the Bible, God certainly did have the doors closed to those people until He was ready for the doors He wanted open for His purposes and in His timing. When God was ready for something to happen, He opened the door to make it possible.

    Not every situation is an open or closed doorway. We make decisions in virtually every awake moment of our lives. Through the sanctification process after we are saved we begin to grow in spiritual maturity and develop the character of Christ. We demonstrate this by our decisions and actions. Through the Bible we know what God expects from His children.

    God has blessed each of us uniquely with a combination of gifts or talents. While anyone can study, learn, and get better at something with practice, not everyone is blessed with the talent it takes to be a great and perform at the top levels. This does not mean we should not do things we love to do, even if we’re not particularly good at them. God wants us to enjoy the life He has blessed us with. But God also steers us in the directions He wants us to move through His blessings and by shutting or opening doors of opportunity.

    You must also take into account if whether or not doors are opened or closed based upon your faith in God. While God loves everybody and desires to have a deep, meaningful and loving relationship with each of us, He cannot bless sin. If a person has not been made right in God’s eyes through faith in Jesus Christ, God will not open His doors for that person.

    Everything and every situation is first and foremost about God and His plans. Whether or not He blesses a person with open doors depends upon that.

  • Kim Reed says:

    I have struggled with this concept a lot. Right now, for example, I have a really strong burden to start something in our church that I believe will be of value to the women in our church. There is no ministry like this in our city, and I really believe there should be, but the need is not being addressed at all.

    Without sounding prideful, I do believe I have some of the tools it would take, and my life experience is a huge part of that. The idea first came to me several months ago. I squashed it, convincing myself that I would not be able to do it. I have not arrived! There would still be a ton of stuff that I would need to prepare and receive God’s direction each step of the way. I plan to meet with my pastor concerning this to see what spiritual guidance he may offer as well. Of course, that will greatly determine this. I have NOT been able to let this go. The burden gets stronger all the time. I’m really almost thinking that it is going to be a green light now, or a wait awhile thing to prepare more effectively. Truth is too, I’m scared! To think this would be a “pioneer” venture is a bit intimidating for sure.

    Does anyone have any SPECIFIC example of God opening or closing doors for them? I would be interested to see what you would say. It’s so confusing too when you think that maybe it’s just not the right timing for the door to open. It’s easy to just assume the door has been shut, but maybe it’s just not wide open YET! Would SO appreciate anyone’s personal story. Thanks!

  • Sean Scott says:


    I certainly believe in your situation you are being called by God to do something, if that is how it feels to you. Never forget that many of the heroes in the Bible never believed they were capable or worthy of being chosen by God to do what they did. Do not underestimate yourself, if you feel God is calling you, then He is. God always gives us what we need, when we need it, to do what He wants. If you start this, and find you need help, ask the Father and also ask your brothers and sisters in Christ. Anything worth doing will have difficulties and challenges to overcome, but anything done for God, no matter if it is wildly successful or just mediocre, reaps many, many rewards for you in Heaven.

    Years ago when I was a young man I tried to convince myself that I was an atheist because surely I had seen through my education that God was not real, and religion was just archaic legends and morality stories invented by man. Yet, in the middle of my unbelief I had this strange sensation that would nag at me — I was feeling called to ministry, an atheist.

    Fast forward nearly two decades. Through a combination of events and people over my life I accept that I need Jesus to save me, because God is real and I cannot conquer the world. Now, I am not a minister, but I have not completely ruled that possibility out in the future. Yet within a year of being saved I knew that God had equipped me for a ministry after all — I worked for a newspaper on its website and it was only natural that I would build and maintain my church’s website. I also write a blog, maintain a Facebook page for my church, and participate in many forums on the web bring the light of Christ to the darkness of the internet.

    God got hold of this “educated atheist” and put me to use for His purposes. God can and will surely use you as long as you let Him.

    This is one of my favorite passages of the Bible: Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

  • jenny says:

    Dear Kim,
    I believe that if it is God’s will, everything will fall into place in His time….if God wants you to start something for the women, trust Him to put everything, and everyone into place. This was my experience in starting something for the church too…I wanted to start a mini library for the community in the church. I certainly had what it takes, being a teacher…the church had an empty library, not being used, I had a lot of books..but when suggested it to the church committee, there were so many problems and obstruction…so many did not agree to it because the previous attempt had failed and besides, I was not ready to volunteer full time and no one else was willing to offer help. so, the idea was shot down and i was disappointed…After 10 years, my sons were grown and I was more ready this time…A mention of the library as a service was well-received by the committee this time…Friends offered in cash and in kind…I was overwhelmed by the response from the community and the library was established in April 2010…God provided everything..from the furniture to the books, right down to the little bookmarks I wanted to give to new members upon registration..So, do not lose heart. Pray for God’s timing.