LCN Article
The Blessing of a Closed Door

May / June 2016
Woman To Woman

Michelle Grovak

How many times have we, as mothers and grandmothers, recounted the story of Noah and the ark to our little ones? Recently, reading it to my six-year-old grandson, I saw an aspect of the story in a different light.

The animals, seven pairs of every clean, and two of every unclean, are settled into their temporary homes—each bird on a perch, each reptile in a cage, each horse in a stall, and each sheep in a pen, just as God had instructed Noah. Animal feed and provisions are packed away, just as God also instructed. Noah, Shem, Japheth and Ham are all on board, along with their wives. The door of the ark remains open until all is completed, as is recorded in Genesis 7.

The time has come; after 120 years of preparation, the time has come for water to pour down, and rush in, and bubble up. The time has come for the door of the ark to close. But, who will shut the door? Will it be Noah and his sons? When it happens, the end of the heavy door of the ark begins to rise off the ground, not by man, but by the unseen hand of God. The ark’s inhabitants can hear the wooden door creak as it is heaved upwards. And slowly what can be seen of the sky disappears from view.

Who could miss the obvious blessing of a closed door? The ominous clouds would gather. Thunder would roll and lightning would crash, spooking the animals and causing a noisy uproar in the pens and cages. Rumbles would sound from underground, shaking the ark.

Anticipating what was to come, those on board must have breathed a collective sigh of relief, seeing that God had ensured the success of their undertaking—by closing and sealing off the door through His own power. Perhaps God designed the ark in such a way as to make it absolutely necessary for an outside force to perform the final step. Noah built the ark as instructed, and, in faith, waited for God to do what he could not do for himself.

What might have happened if it had not been so? If Noah could have closed the ark, would he have hesitated, thinking of all the people left outside? Perhaps God relieved Noah of the burden of shutting out all of humanity. For whatever reason, God shut up the ark Himself (v. 16)—and what a blessing that closed door was!

We know the rest, how the rain poured down and the waters of the deep rose until all land was covered and even the highest mountain was buried by more than 20 feet of water. Surely those inside the ark thanked God and praised Him for that closed door, the barrier that stood the test of water pressure and did its part to keep all aboard high and dry.

Doors Opened and Closed

When the waters subsided, and the door opened, Noah thanked God for the opened door. We Christians like to think about how God opens doors both in our personal lives and in the Work of God. Open doors just naturally seem gratifying. We want to walk through those open doors. Whether a promotion at work, a proposal of marriage, or a trip abroad, open doors are exciting, and when God is the one who opens them, they are a true blessing in our lives.

But what about the blessing of a closed door? When a door closes, can we see that door’s closing as Noah perceived it?

Revelation 3:7 tells us that God both opens and closes doors. Can we understand that He closes doors for our own good? And if a door closes for our own good, the closed door is, in effect, a blessing! It is easy to see how the ark’s closing by God’s hand was a blessing, but what about closed doors in our own lives? What about a closed door that looks like a trial?

A lost job, a broken leg, a serious illness or the death of a loved one—all involve doors closing, either temporarily or permanently. These can leave us confused and discouraged. If our Father is pleased with us, how could He allow this to happen? Devilish doubts can enter our minds when trouble abounds.

However, the Bible encourages us to look at trials from a different perspective. James 1 focuses us on the positive aspects of trials, which prepare us for God’s Kingdom. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:2–3). And then: “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him” (v. 12).  Finally: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father” (v. 17).

Whether God chooses to open or close a door, let us consider it a gift from the Father. He knows our character and the areas requiring growth in order to fill the role He has for us in the Kingdom of God. Learning patience, growing in faith, controlling our tongues? Closed doors can help us grow and change. Waiting patiently behind a closed door is a perfect opportunity for introspection, for self-examination, to see ourselves as God sees us. Or perhaps the closed door is simply saying it is time to look behind another door. Perhaps the answer is not “no,” but rather, “I have something much better for you.”

Doors of Protection

Sometimes when a door closes, our loving Father is protecting His children from physical, emotional or spiritual harm. As mothers of young children, we can relate to the blessing of closed doors. We purchase complicated door guards to keep little ones away from household products in cabinets. The exasperation of a toddler is worth his safety! The exterior doors to our home keep the little ones safely inside and protected from dangers outside. I remember being a five-year-old, who loved life in our home in the country. Every morning I scampered outside to explore nature. But we also owned a big red rooster. That rooster was quite a bully. When I exited the back door, invariably he attacked. Circling the house with the red menace on my tail, I made it to the front door. I can still hear that door slam after I managed to escape once again. I can still feel the relief of having that closed door between me and that awful bird.

Can you think of times when a closed door turned out to be a real blessing? Pondering these times can be the starting point for fruitful meditation on God’s working in our lives. Or take the opportunity to have a family discussion centered on how various closed doors in the life of the family have proved to be blessings. These family conversations can help children learn the value of a closed door.

Although it may not come naturally for us, with God’s help we can cultivate an attitude of seeing the blessing of a closed door. The next time a door slams shut in your face, try to remember God shows His love to us in many different ways. Perhaps something harmful is on the other side of the door. Perhaps we need to stop and examine ourselves. Or perhaps we need to look to another door. Remember Noah and the blessing of the closed door. And thank God for all things, even closed doors!