My wife and I roll our eyes.

Here is another person telling us how much their life is suddenly clicking together, everything so smooth, so neat, so ‘even Steven’ that it must be God.

God is opening doors for them.

You see they just lost their job. Then they bumped into an old colleague. Who told them about a friend who was looking for someone who offered them a job. And not just any job but a good one. Closer to home. So, they can pick up the kids from school. No more long day care. And more time for hubby. They might even start ‘that’ ministry now with all the time and cash saved from not commuting.

Yep, God is opening doors.

Then you look at your life. Unemployed or battling the constant in and out of work. Sucky bosses. One exploitation and dodgy operator after another. God seemingly oblivious to every request and petition for help. Perhaps that dream job is just that, a pipedream. You’d have to say God is definitely not opening doors.

Or is He?

Does the way we talk about God opening doors actually reflect the Bible’s mind?

 Where does the Bible talk about ‘doors opening’?

How does the Bible actually teach about such ‘doors’ opening?

Recently my wife and I were on our church congregation’s retreat weekend and our pastor had chosen this topic for us. His family has recently suffered the loss of one of their teenage sons to cancer and He wanted to share how God was opening doors.

It became evident as we traced through the Bible’s use of the term, that God is less interested in our personal gains and improvements and more interested in the growth of His kingdom in us and the world.

The growth in you and the good news about Jesus reaching more people

‘Let’s get straight, what it’s not about’, said our pastor: ‘It’s not about you and your life’s progress or achievements’.

Or may I add...our kids'.

We parents are often heard talking about God opening an opportunity for our child to be at such and such a school or getting access to a highly sought, place-limited, university course. But that’s not the Bible’s concern. That’s about us and our kid’s worldly progression.

Truth is, the Bible is largely silent and unconcerned about our kid’s future careers.

When the Bible speaks about doors opening, it’s usually about people’s hearts being more receptive to the good news and God’s kingdom being built as they receive His word.

God’s doors are about his work ‘in’ us and the progress of His word in the world.

Take these verses from the New Testament:

In Corinthians Paul the apostle speaks of opportunities that are not for his benefit, but for others:

ESV 1 Corinthians 16:9 for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

 

He also speaks of not going through ‘an open door’ that would lead to further preaching because he was concerned about the whereabouts of one of his close colleagues…

 

ESV 2 Corinthians 2:12 When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord,

 

In a time of hardship, Paul in prison prays for a door of opportunity for the gospel to not be chained like he is and describes how the message went out through the prison and officials that he was linked with

 

ESV Colossians 4:3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison-

 

ESV 2 Timothy 2:9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!

 

The door swings right off the hinges!

Now what’s really striking is the timing of when the door swings.

We normally think of it as being about good timing. Doors opening at magical moments, just when we need it.

However, what we came to see on our church’s retreat was how God opens doors when life doesn’t click together.

Who would say illness or prison is good on any level of timing or benefit to either our lives’ progress or the gospel’s?

Think about it. In prison the word of God is chained to a wall. Paul can’t get out and preach like he usually does. In bed a preacher can’t preach. A singer can’t sing. How is this a door opening?

Imagine you’re lying in hospital without any sign of leaving soon? Is that a door or a dead end? I guess we need to be willing for God to work in this time for our faith’s building and for others to know Him.

Our pastor shared an email from someone he didn’t expect. It could have been written for anyone but it was from a well-known speaker. He prayed that God would open doors for his encouragement and building during this time and for the gospel to be proclaimed in ways he couldn’t now see or imagine.

Perhaps that too should be our prayer and encouragement. We should look for what God is doing next when the timing is off or the we find ourselves with stuff that just ain’t workin’. The doors might just swing "off the hinges"

But one thing for sure, let’s talk with our kids about God opening doors not so much for our success but for our eternal ‘gain’ and His name. Doors open in sucky times.

God opens doors for our families. Doors are opportunities for growth.

Opportunities that come from those doors may be missed if we don’t approach them with ‘eyes to see’ and willing hearts.

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