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Like a young child who to his mother’s door
runs, eager for the welcoming embrace
and finds the door shut, and with troubled face
calls, and through sobbing calls,
and over and over calling,
storms at the panel–
so before a door that will not open,
sick and numb,
I listen for a word that will not come
and know, at last, I may not enter more.
There is silence! And through the silence
and the dark by that closed door,
I hear the distant sob of tears
and through the sobbing… listen!
Down the dimmed corridors of years
the quiet shutting one by one of doors.

by Hermann Hagedorn

It’s Saturday morning.

Life isn’t what you’d label "fantastic," but you’re making ends meet and your family is intact. You wish you and your husband were closer, but maybe it will be better some day.

Here he comes. A day at home together. A real drag and a lot of pressure usually. Maybe you can make today a little nicer. It’s 9:30. A late breakfast.

"Good morning, Jean. I have something to say to you and it seems to me that the best way is to just say it and get it over with. I don’t love you anymore. I want a divorce. I have plans that don’t include you–or the boys. I don’t intend to discuss it with you at all. My mind is made up.

And he walks past you. Out the kitchen door. You’re stunned! Your feet won’t move. Finally you rush over to the door and throw it open. Too late. He’s gone.

"But wait! Let’s work at it! Let’s at least try! Don’t leave me this way! What will I do? What about the boys? Don’t you care? Wait…please wait."

A door has closed.

Let’s talk about doors. Oh, not the doors that separate your garage from your kitchen, but doors those come into your life unexpectedly. And once they’re closed, they’re closed. You can storm and plead and sob and call to no avail. They separate you from home and from loved ones; they force you to make radical adjustments, to leave your secure comfort zone; they cause pain and confusion, depression and doubt.

Passing through a door may be violent–almost as though you were grabbed by the arm, jerked into the room and the door slammed behind you. A sudden thing. Traumatic. Final. Like Jean. Or you can be approaching that door, knowing full well that it’s in your path, and yet never realizing the impact you will experience when you actually get there–fear, pain, grief, loneliness, insecurity, surging emotions–emotions that seem to pour over you and leave you helpless.

As you’re cooking supper you hear a siren a couple of blocks over. If you stop and think about it, someone out there has just had a door opened…or closed. You glance at the obituary column in the paper…doors have been closed.

There’s the list of graduating seniors, and your son’s name is there. You’re so proud of him! Yes, doors to the future have been opened, but doors have been closed, too. There’s going to be a vacant room at your house now and life will be different. There will be an open door you walk by each time you go down the hall…open…and yet closed. You used to walk in and wake him up with, "Good morning, sweet." Not anymore.

You scan the legal notices . . . doors. You read the headlines . . . doors. And there are times when you want to say, "But wait. I’ve gone through that door so many times and I’ve spent so much of my life beyond that door. Not go in anymore? Please don’t close it! My days will be so empty. So meaningless. And down the dimmed corridors of years there is the quiet shutting one by one of doors.

You began when you were thirty years old. A business venture together, you and your husband. It was really difficult at times, you had to do without, but you made it. Success! Every morning for twenty-seven years now, that has been your job, your life, your identity, your security. You leave town for a couple of days and when you return you hear these words: "You don’t need to go back down to the office, Carol. They’ve…well, let’s say they’ve ‘phased you out’!" A closed door.

There are four aspects to these "life-changing" doors:

(1) They are COMMON to all of us. None of us are immune. Every one of you could write a story…

(2) They are PERSONAL. Your experiences are unique to you. Never are all points equal, though they may be similar. And it doesn’t help to hear the old Indian adage about "walking in someone else’s moccasins for two weeks" . . . or two years for that matter.

(3) They are INTENSE. There are different levels of intensity, some more severe than others, but what is labeled as "intense" for you could well be where someone else walks every day. Does that make it any less intense for you? No. Pain is relative.

(4) They all open for us a CAPACITY for growth, for when a door closes, you CHOOSE the direction you will take.

We can’t escape them. They will come. And when they do, we have one hope . . . only one. We must KNOW Him. We must be so confident of our relationship with Him that nothing will shake it. We must trust Him.

Where is He? I need Him so badly and I can’t seem to reach Him. Trust Him? I’ve asked Him for help so many times and there’s nothing . . .. How? Why? What do I do? Can I really trust God? Yes. If you know–unequivocally–that He loves you. For you can trust someone completely only when you are confident of his unconditional love for you and his commitment to you.

Do you subconsciously visualize Him taking my "doll" and very deliberately pulling off one leg (watching to see how I’m reacting)? And if you don’t "act right" He pulls off another leg? then an arm? and another arm? Oh, no, no, no. The Bible tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8), therefore I can trust Him.

The soil for trust is composed of wilderness experiences, disappointments, trials, testing . . . doors. So what if I am going through a very difficult time and I believe that I have trusted Him to the very best of my ability, and it looks as if He is being irresponsible and untrustworthy . . . then what do I do?

Refuse those thoughts and stay your mind on His love for you. Stay your mind on TRUTH. Do you know where those cynical thoughts of doubt are coming from? Do you REALLY know? Do you KNOW that Satan is giving you these thoughts or have you been thinking all along that YOU were responsible for them . . . insidious, cruel, hateful, ugly, destructive thoughts? No. You do not generate them. They come to you with first person singular pronouns from your adversary, the Devil, through the power of sin which is in your members (Romans 7:21-23), and they are designed with one single, vicious purpose in mind: to destroy your trust in Him. *

And there are those people who tell me that I will not have to face any doors if my faith is just great enough. Jesus never taught that. He tells me that doors will definitely be a part of my life: "In the world you will have trials and tribulations, distress and frustration" (John 16:33 Amp). But He goes on to say, "Trust Me. Don’t be afraid. I’ve robbed it of power to harm you. I have conquered it for you. Be undaunted. Hold your head high and face this door through the power of Christ within you." Oh yes, the door may still close, it may not work out like I wanted it to work out, but I will be triumphant. That’s a promise. A promise, however, with stipulations: "You must allow Me to live through you. You must let Me face this door for you."

Have you ever analyzed what our behavior demonstrates to the world and to the Lord as we stand before a door that has closed and we are doubting, defeated, discouraged, depressed? We are saying:

(1) God is not going to give me the grace to endure this.
(2) I know Christ lives IN me, but He cannot take me through this. It is too difficult. Unsolvable.
(3) God has given a lot of promises…but I need more than promises now!
(4) I cannot trust God to come through for me. I doubt His integrity and His wisdom and His power. He is irresponsible and untrustworthy.
(5) God does not love me, for if He did, He would not allow such tragic things to come into my life.

Lies. Depraved, insidious lies. How He must grieve. The pain He must endure. That we would believe such gross untruths about Him…

I remember praying for Pres one time when he was going through a very difficult circumstance, when a heavy door was closing behind him. I said, "Lord, if You can alter Your plans for this loved one without hindering Your sovereign purpose for his life, I humbly ask You to do so." (Interpretation: I trust you to do what is best for Pres in this situation, Lord.) God did not alter the plans because His purpose was more important in Pres’ life at the time. He had a higher motive. His ways, His thoughts are so far above mine that it’s often impossible for me to comprehend what He is planning, what He’s doing, or what He is allowing to come about in my life or in the lives of my loved ones; what doors are in our paths. He knows. I must trust Him.

Yes, through the sobbing–if I hush and listen carefully–I will hear down the dimmed corridors of years the quiet shutting one by one of doors. But, if I listen even more carefully, I will hear His voice say to me, I will never forsake you. I’m with you. I’m holding your hand. Do you feel it? You’re not alone. I know you’re hurting. Don’t turn your back on Me. I want to walk through this door with you. I want to walk through this door . . . for you. And as you let Him, another door quietly closes.

* * * * * *

For further teaching on this Biblical principle, please read Lifetime Guarantee by Dr. Bill Gillham or The Confident Woman by Anabel Gillham.

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.