Closed Doors, Open Hearts


Yesterday, my husband and I found ourselves staring at yet another closed door in a season that has been full of them.

As followers of Christ, what do we do with those moments when He allows doors to close…and there is no sign that an open door is in the future anytime soon?

1) Allow yourself to feel the feelings that rise to the surface: disappointment, sadness, confusion, fear, even anger. Our feelings are powerful and it is pointless to deny them. So don’t try. Pour out your heart to your God who is always listening. (Psalm 62:8)

2) Remember that you don’t have allow your feelings to be in the driver’s seat. After acknowledging them, relegate them to the place they belong: in the background, not in the forefront.

It has taken me years to learn this. I used to live in a very reactive way; I allowed my feelings to dictate what my day would look like.

The result was a rollercoaster ride and that’s only fun for a few wild moments at an amusement park. It’s no way to live a life.

Then Jesus  taught me how to live by the truth of His Word…NOT by my circumstances, which could change on a dime.

It’s the difference between standing on solid rock and standing on quicksand.

I have become proactive in that I now prioritize His Word over my feelings.

For example, after getting that news yesterday, my feelings rose up and LOUDLY said, “I can’t do this anymore. It’s too hard. I’m exhausted. When will this end?”

And through the gift of  His Word, Jesus spoke truth and comfort to my heart:

“Susan, you have strength for all things through Me. I empower you. You are ready for anything and equal to anything through Me. I infuse inner strength into You…My grace is enough for you (sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble)…My strength and power are made perfect and show themselves most effective in your weakness…Remember, you are waiting for ME: not an event…expect Me. Hope in Me. Live close to Me and I will renew your strength so that you will run and not be weary…Your times are in MY hands… I am guiding you along these unfamiliar paths. I will  turn the darkness into light and I will make the rough places smooth. I will not forsake you…I will NEVER stop doing good to you.” (Philippians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Isaiah 40:31; Psalm 31:15; Isaiah 42:16; Jeremiah 32:40).

3) Preach the Gospel–the Good News– to yourself every single day..especially when dealing with disappointment.

Our pastor in Florida taught us this and it is the KEY to living a victorious, peaceful, and incredibly joyful life, even in the midst of pain.

As a result of the Fall, I am sinner, saved by grace alone. Jesus absorbed the righteous wrath of the Father against sin on my behalf so that I might be forgiven and free.

I don’t ever want to get over that!

As Pastor Tullian so rightly declares, “Once God rescues sinners, His plan isn’t to steer them beyond the gospel but to move them more deeply into it.”

One way to do this is to read books on the subject of Christ’s radical sacrifice on our behalf. One of my favorites is  A Violent Grace by Michael Card. I read it prior to Easter every year and every single time, I am driven to my knees in worship to my beautiful Savior. Just mediate on  the following statements from this slim volume for a little while as a way to put whatever your current situation may be into perspective:

He was born to die so I could be born to new life.

He suffered temptation so I could experience victory.

He was betrayed that I might know His faithfulness.

He was arrested and bound so I could be rescued from bondage.

He stood trial alone that I might have an advocate.

He was wounded so I could be healed.

He endured mockery so I could know dignity and joy.

He was condemned so the truth could set me free.

He was crowned with thorns so I might crown Him with praise.

He was nailed to the cross so I might escape judgment.

He was stretched out between thieves so I could know the reach of Love.

He suffered thirst so I can drink Living Water.

He said, “It is finished” so I could begin my walk of faith.

He was God’s Lamb slain so I could claim His sacrifice as my own.

He was forsaken by the Father so I would never be rejected.

He chose the shame of weakness so I could know the hope of glory.

He shed His blood so I could be white as snow.

His heart was pierced so mine could be made whole.

He died and was buried so the grave could not hold me.

He rose again so I might experience eternal life.

He is known by His scars so I will take up my cross and follow Him.   —-Michael Card

I can trust a Savior like this with every closed door.

He has already opened the most important door of all for me: the door into His glorious Presence for all eternity. (John 3:16; John 1:12).

So, I will dry my tears.

I will move on from this closed door, knowing that no season lasts forever and that one day, the right door WILL open wide.

Until then, I will keep moving forward. I will trust Him with what I cannot understand. I will praise Him. I will celebrate His never-ending goodness to me.  I will thank Him for His many gifts. I will stay in His Word.

And I will hope.

“God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.”—Spurgeon


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10 Comments

Filed under Devotions

10 responses to “Closed Doors, Open Hearts

  1. margaret

    What though wars may come,
    With marching feet and beat of the drum,
    For I have Christ in my heart;
    What though nations rage,
    As we approach the end of the age,
    For I have Christ in my heart.
    God is still on the throne, Almighty God is He;
    And He cares for His own through all eternity.
    So let come what may, whatever it is, I only say
    That I have Christ in my heart,
    I have Christ in my heart.

  2. Destiny

    Pretty gave me A Violent Grace by Michael Card as a gift one year and I admit that it is still not an easy read. He did what for me? What selfless, unconditional love – A love I long to live…

    We are believing with you that windows and doors are going to blow wide open with the extreme grace that only our precious Savior can provide.

    Still praying and praying every hour on the hour until midnight tonight…

  3. Destiny

    LOVE YOU, TOO!

  4. Therese

    My dear sweet Susan. What inspiring words you share. Thank you for your deep wisdom that only comes with very difficult times. May God continue to hold you all in His safe embrace while encouraging your hearts to continue looking forward (or up) for that blessing that you are all longing to see!

  5. margaret

    That is an old hymn that I hadn’t thought of in decades until I read your post. 🙂 I thought it paralleled what you wrote in your post.

    I looked it up on line. Where I found it, they didn’t list who the author was.

  6. Claire

    Dear Susan,
    I have had such a couple of weeks. God is still God and so good.
    He brought me to your blog and blessed me. Thank you for your precious sharing. This one he had you write for me!
    XXOO
    Claire

  7. Jenn C

    Have you ever heard the song “The Silence of God” by Andrew Peterson? Michael Card did a cover of the song as well. It’s not an uplifting song in the ‘happy happy’ way, but it always brings me back to where I need to be. It’s about that dark winter season. Here’s a link if you want to hear it:

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