The cliché has been around forever, it seems:
When God closes a door, he opens a window.
I usually hear it used as a means of consolation when things didn’t turn out as anticipated or someone didn’t get what they asked for.
So, when you lose your job because the company is downsizing, folks tell you that when God closes a door he opens a window meaning that that job wasn’t any good for you anyway and you’re sure to find another job that’s even better.
Or, when your marriage proposal gets turned down – permanently – you’re told that, while God closed the door to your one true love, he’ll open the window to a new and even better love.
Maybe, maybe not.
In 2002, my husband became the fallout of a major reorganization of the company he worked for. It was a wonderful job with great benefits, including a decent health insurance plan, That’s a biggie for us, since in our family of six, four of us have chronic diseases, and two of them are quite costly. My husband – our whole family – needed that job.
Shortly after, we were at a social gathering and a friend of ours asked how things were going. When I voiced my concern over our family’s future well-being, he told me, “Oh,, don’t worry. When God closes a door, he opens a window. Things just get better and better.”
No, they don’t. At least not in our case.
My husband, resourceful guy that he is, opened his own small business and that kept us going until he landed a job a few years ago. Its a good job, and he likes the folks he works for and with, but it’s nowhere near the job he lost back in 2000. We’ve never been able to fully recover from that blow.
God did not open a window to something better for us.
Lest you think I’m whining for the sake of appeasing my own self-pity, let me explain to you why I used that example.
It shows that God does close doors, but he doesn’t always open a window.
And that’s okay.
Why? Because God is the All-Powerful, All-Knowing, All-Merciful, and All-Loving Creator and he always acts in our best interests.
If the door has been closed, it’s not necessarily so that God can give you something better along the same lines, but so the loss on the other side of the door will help you grow in holiness and lead you deeper into his Father-heart.
Through the past decade or so, our family has been “schooled” in stewardship.
We’ve become keenly aware that whatever we have is the product of God’s goodness and not our own volition.
We think far more carefully about what we do with our resources and are more sympathetic to those who have less than we do.
We worry less about having what we want and concern ourselves with doing the best with what we have.
We’ve become lass independent and more God-dependent.
I think most of us naively interpret our Lord’s words:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Mt 7:7-8)
Yes, Jesus tells us that whoever asks will receive. But he is not telling us that we may have whatever we want.
Instead, we may have whatever we need.
And what do we really need? All we need, all we’ll ever need, is Him and the grace to live a life such that we will be welcomed into Eternity when we die.
Sure, we wanted a fantastic job for my husband. In fact, we believed that we needed it.
God knew otherwise,
Personally, I still don’t get it. And I’ll admit to grumbling about it here and there. But beyond my petty grumbling is the realization that we are in God’s hands, and he knows best.
Best might include a dream job, a million-dollar estate, success in all our relationships, whatever. Or, it might include destitution, abandonment, or heartbreak.
It’s not what we have, but rather how we obtained it. When’s it’s through surrender to God’s plan and dependence on his grace, then it’s the exact right thing for us.
When God closes a door, he doesn’t always open a window. But he does give us exactly what we need because he loves us and wants us to share Eternity with him.
Image: Wikimedia Commons