In hopes of knowing God’s specific will a lot of Christians will pray for God to open or close doors so they know which one to walk through. And while God can and does answer these types of prayers in some situations and shows His will through that, there are other cases in which that closed/open door concept crumbles.
Let me give you an example. A few years ago when I was just applying to universities in Germany I prayed for God to open the door for the university in which He wanted me to study. I got accepted to a university in Berlin and was really happy about it. I took it as God opening the door for me. I thought it was His will.
Then I found out that my German grade from high school was not enough for studying at the university and they wanted me to take a German test to see if my German was good enough. Being completely unprepared for the exam, I failed it. Unfortunately, that meant I couldn’t get enrolled to the university for that year anymore.
God slammed that door in my face. Bam!
Upon getting the bad news I remember going to a park and just trying to process what had just happened. My biggest question at that moment was whether it wasn’t God’s will for me to get a college degree (and go into Christian ministry instead) or it wasn’t His will for me yet and I should apply again next year.
So after praying, thinking, and talking about it with my parents, we decided that it would be best I got enrolled into intensive German language courses in Berlin to prepare for the German test. And then I could apply to the same university again next year.
So that’s what I did. I studied hard and passed the German exam. And then I applied again to the same university and got accepted again. And was able to get enrolled in it. This time God opened the door and I could walk right through it.
This is just one of the countless times in my life where I would fail at something and then had to work harder or smarter for it before I could succeed at it. So my point is that we may be tempted to use the “God closed that door” as an excuse to give up and stop trying. When in fact God may be trying to grow us in perseverance. Life is not easy. It can sometimes take a few tries before we get something right. And God may choose to close doors to teach us perseverance sometimes.
We may be tempted to use “God closed that door” as an excuse to give up and stop trying. When in fact God may be trying to grow us in perseverance.
Not all closed doors are closed forever. Maybe God is just waiting for us to mature before He lets us go through those doors.
Another thing I hear some Christians say goes something like, “if it feels like you have to push the door open, then it’s probably not God’s will.”
I feel like this statement comes from the mentality of life being easy. Having grown up in Ukraine I have witnessed a lot of people having to push the doors open for themselves just to be able to provide for their families. No one was going to open the door for them or give them an opportunity. They had to work hard for it themselves.
In Genesis the Bible says:
“And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.” (NLT, Genesis 3:17)
Even in the New Testament Jesus said to His disciples:
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (NLT, John 16:33)
God never said life is going to be easy! And He never said that we would always succeed the first time we try something! God told us openly that life would be a struggle.
So while the open/closed door mentality may work in some cases, we have to really be careful we are not using it as an excuse to give up or to not even try something in the first place.
I think a better way to seek God’s will is to pray and ask God for wisdom, read the Bible and make sure whatever you are considering to do aligns with the Scriptures, and seek wise counsel from other believers.