By Susan K. Smith,
God gives you a hint. You can feel the nudging, the spiritual nudging within your spirit, telling you that something is up. You can try to ignore it, but you really cannot. A “God-nudge” is persistent and can be annoying. That is because when God is trying to tell us something, or when God is getting ready to change something in our lives, God needs for us to know …that what is about to happen to us is no accident.
Sometimes we like what God does, but sometimes, we do not. We love it, we rejoice, when God opens doors and gives us fresh, new blessings! We are overjoyed. God opening doors is one of the best things that can happen to anyone.
But, as God opens doors, God also closes them, and we hate it. The question we have to ask ourselves is “why” God closed the door. It is at these times that we have to retreat into our spirits to find the place where we can find peace in spite of our angst because of what God has done.
There is such a darkness when the door is closed! It is hard to see, even if we squint, because the darkness can be so dark and so thick…and often times, the difficulty in seeing is exacerbated by the tears that fill our eyes because of our disappointment at what has happened. God doesn’t care much about the tears or the angst, it seems, because when God closes a door, there is always a reason.
It has been said that sometimes, God has to break your heart in order to strengthen your spirit, and thus, your faith. Yes, God does break our hearts sometimes. We give a little too much power to the Adversary. God is in control, ultimately, and in every broken heart God causes, there is something that God is trying to strengthen. When God closes doors, it breaks our hearts, but when that happens, we can trust and believe that God did not want us to go through that door, not one more time. Sometimes, the doors we go through make our spirits and our faith weaker. Sometimes, we try to “make do” with a situation that is not meant to be. Sometimes, we rationalize and say to ourselves that we are not spiritually off-balance because we keep going through that door, when we know we are not telling ourselves the truth.
In love, then, God closes the door. God loves us too much to keep letting us go to a place that is not good for us or to us. God knows that if She does not step in and close the wrong door, we might never be inclined to search for and see the right door.
God does that because there is always a “right” door.
The English Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon wrote a sermon entitled, “David’s Prayer in the Cave.” He writes, “Is it not a curious thing that whenever God means to make a man great, He always first breaks him into pieces?” He continues, “Have none of you ever notices, in your own lives, that whenever God is going to give you an enlargement and bring you out to a larger sphere of service, or to a higher platform of spiritual life, you always get thrown down?”
Spurgeon says, “Do not wonder if you go by the way of the cave. Why? Because, Spurgeon says, “If God would make you greatly useful, He must teach you how to pray. And, he wrote, “the man whom God would greatly honor must always believe in God when he (she) is at his (her) wits’ end. And finally, he wrote, “in order to greater usefulness, “many a man (woman” of God must be taught to stand alone.”
Spurgeon says a lot more in that sermon, but those three points are good places to start when trying to understand why God has shut a door in your life. It is not a bad thing, though it is painful. And it may be that some evil has caused it to close, but more often than not, it is God breaking our hearts in order to strengthen our spirits, our faith, and our capacity for the work yet before us. Spurgeon says that when people go into a cave, as did David, they wind up going deeper and deeper as they look for a way out, but at the end, the only One who can pull us out of the depths of our despair is the One who closed the door in the first place.
There is grace waiting on the other side of the closed door. There is grace and love and a new strength which will make us sing new songs, which God requires. “Sing unto the Lord a new song” even as you stand looking at that impenetrable and immovable door. God might have closed it recently, even as you were preparing to enter it one more time, but believe and know that it is not a bad thing, but, rather, an act of love which will help us do and be what God has called us to do and be.
Amen and amen.
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith –Writer, author, musician, pastor, preacher and social justice advocate. She is a graduate of Yale Divinity School and author of “Crazy Faith: Ordinary People; Extraordinary Lives,” which won the 2009 National Best Books Award. Follow Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith on Twitter:www.twitter.com/cassad