Over the years, I have had several conversations with various people about believing for an open door. In most cases, these conversations were with people who, like me, were frustrated; thinking that our gifts and talents were not being utilized fully in ministry. Bursting at the seams, the complaint was that there seemed to be something or someone preventing us from operating completely in the church roles we had been given.
Not wanting to buck up against authority, we would submit and stew. Complaining that we were not allowed to use all our talent, we would pray for change. We would pray that the assigned leaders would see the possibilities associated with allowing us to function at full capacity… we prayed for an opened door. God answers that prayer differently for different people. What I have seen, is that the open door we pray for is not always in to something but could just be an exit from something that no longer fits.
In a discussion with someone leaving a ministry under unpleasant circumstances, I wondered if the open door we had been praying for was a means of escape from an oppressive ministry. See, she wanted to be used more where she was, but perhaps God had different plans. Perhaps, He deemed it more beneficial for her to move to a wide opened space… to another field. A field where she could exercise her gifting and have the freedom to be a blessing to God’s people elsewhere. In her case, the opened door led out, not in.
I know of another situation where the open door led to other opened doors. In praying that he be allowed to fully express his talents and gifts without the criticism and censorship, this brother too prayed for an open door. God answered His prayer. Yet, his opened door was more like a gateway or a corridor to other opened doors. His next ministry position, “opened” up to other occasions to minister in various places. Like the sister I already mentioned, this brother’s opened door was out of an oppressive situation into multiple blessings.
What I hope you are beginning to see is, our understanding of what an open door is, is limited. Sometimes the limitation is bore out of impatience. Sometimes it is due to ignorance. We may want God to place THE opened door before us so that we do not have to exert any energy or effort; we want to simply walk through what we believe God has provided. Yet, I am learning that God sometimes make us uncomfortable where we are, maybe even slam doors behind us, just to remind us that there is so much more for us (and in us) on the other side of frustration.
Then there are those of us who will walk through what we believe is an opened door, to find ourselves between two closed doors. Left in limbo, we wonder if we missed God. We ask if God even knows what He is doing… We question if we are to just sit there or is there something to be done or learned in that place of “what’s this?” Having been in that place more times than I want to count, I have learned that in that type of waiting, we are to seek God, trust God, and be bold enough to grab door knob of what is in front of us.
Between those two doors, is a type of waiting room. We know that blessing is on the other side because we believe that God is the giver of good gifts (Matt 7:11, James 1:17). We trust that God’s Word is true and that all things really do work together for good (Ro 8:28). Just like an open door, even our seasons of waiting have purpose. In that hallway between blessings, we are wise to recall the many times He has previously answered our prayers. Travis Green sings, “Who You were, is who You are!” Tye Tribbett says, “Same God right now, same God back then!” The Word assures us that God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever! (Heb 13:8).
God’s ability is not hampered by our inability to see what He is orchestrating. There are times God will give us a peek into our future. There are times we must remember His provision in the past and trust him to answer the questions we have in the present about our future. Just know, if God presented the door, walk, if not run, through it. When God has you waiting for the next door to open, have faith that He is arranging your pasture of blessing that is for your good and His glory!
Originally published 6/2017 * Revised 7/2021