Has God closed a door for you lately?
I ask that question after listening to a sermon by the Rev. Rick Warren of Saddleback Church.
In his sermon, Rick talks about types of doors. He mentions times when God opens doors for us—like doors of opportunity.
And he talks about times when God closes them for our protection.
Rick told a story about a man who was the vice president of a company when he was asked to do something wrong.
When he declined, he was fired.
That doesn’t sound like a good situation for a guy who did the right thing.
Yet that same man later became president of his old company’s competition.
Eventually, he took over his old company, too.
A couple years ago, Rick also told a story about a man who was fired for refusing to do something bad.
But that firing turned out to be a blessing in disguise when leaders in that company went to jail for what they did—and the honest guy who got fired didn’t.
It’s true. God often closes doors to keep us from harm.
Is there a Biblical connection?
Rick points to the story of a man named Noah.
Many people know the basic account.
At this point in Bible history, Noah is a righteous man who lives at a time when the earth is corrupt and filled with violence.
The Lord is grieved to the heart to see how wicked people have become and has decided to end all humanity — except for Noah and his family.
So God tells Noah to build a huge boat — called an ark — and gives him specific instructions on how to construct it.
The huge vessel will have a roof. And it will have a door in its side.
Into that ark, Noah is told to put a male and female of every sort of animal and bird and “creeping things of the ground.” He’s also supposed to load the boat with every type of food needed to keep these creatures and his family alive.
It had to be an enormous undertaking.
Yet the Scriptures say Noah did everything that God commanded him to do.
God also tells Noah a little of what will happen next. God says he’ll make it rain for 40 days and 40 nights, blotting out everything from the face of the ground.
So Noah and his wife and their three sons and wives go into the ark along with all the creatures.
Then comes one simple sentence: “And the Lord shut him in.”
God closed the door to the ark for the protection of all those inside.
I’d never really thought much about that until I heard Rick’s sermon.
I wonder what Noah was thinking when that door closed.
Did he feel safe from the water that was to come?
Or was he nervous about what lie ahead?
Did Noah’s heart ache for people, whom he knew would die because they had continued in their evil ways?
I think Noah must have tried to talk to at least some of these people when I read that the Apostle Peter described him as a preacher of righteousness. (2 Peter 2:5)
Apparently, Noah’s warnings went unheeded.
The flood continues for 40 days, carrying the ark high above the earth and the Scriptures say this:
“Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died.”
The rain does stop though and, eventually, Noah and his family and all the creatures are able to leave the ark.
God then tells Noah there will never again be a flood that will destroy the whole earth and the Lord puts a rainbow in the sky as a sign of his promise.
For years, I’ve loved seeing cute little pictures of animals heading into the ark, while a gentle-looking, older man watches.
I’ve also heard where the ark can be seen as a symbol of Christ who rescues us from sin and death.
But again, I’ve never thought much about God closing the door of the ark — until now.
Like many people, I’ve had times when God has closed some doors in my life.
Some door closings haven’t been so bad — like the time I didn’t get a summer job as a tour guide at a rest stop. I ended up getting a job at a weekly newspaper instead.
That turned out to be a very good thing.
There have been some very painful closings with relationships.
But when I looked back later, I was so grateful those doors were closed.
Had those doors not been closed, I probably wouldn’t have met and married my wonderful husband Chuck.
I guess you could call his death in 2013 a closed door and for a long time I wondered why God allowed Chuck to die.
One day, a pastor said something I still think about.
“You don’t know what God saved him from,” the pastor said.
Obviously, God didn’t save Chuck from death on this earth.
But maybe he did save and protect him from a lot of other bad things that could have happened down the road.
I can only imagine what those things might have been and I won’t know the whole story until I see my God face to face.
In the meantime, I believe I’ll see Chuck in heaven someday.
And that will be an open door.
We don’t always understand why God closes some doors, but I believe we can trust him.
He is the God who sees the big picture. He sees the future that we do not and I truly believe he has our best interests at heart.
How do I know this?
I’m reminded every time I see a cross. God loves us so much that he sent his only son to die to save us from our sins so we can spend eternity with him.
This same God says in his word that “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”
And he speaks so reassuringly when he says in Jeremiah 29:11: “I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
The Lord has good plans for his children and, sometimes while he’s guiding us through this maze — this obstacle course called life — he closes some doors where we’re not supposed to go.
But we shouldn’t give up hope.
Because after the storms have ended, you just never know when God will let you open the door that leads to a rainbow.