• Debbie Slaughter

When an Open Door Seems Like a Bad Mistake

Updated: May 11, 2021

I’ve always assumed that when God opens a door, it is the end-all- be-all to where He wants us to be. But, I’ve learned through experience (and through God’s word), that sometimes He opens the door, lets us walk through it, just so we can get it out of our system and move on to the place he really wants us to be.

In 2 Corinthians 2:12-13, Paul says that the Lord opened a door for him to travel to Troas. But, once he got there to preach, “he had no rest in his spirit because he couldn’t find his brother Titus.” So he packed up and moved on to Macedonia.

When I read these verses, I wanted to shout “hurray!” because it confirmed something I’ve been struggling to understand for a few years now, which is, how can you pray about something, feel led through an open door, and yet get there and feel totally at unrest?

It just didn’t make sense to me, because I knew how much prayer I put into something that didn’t turn out at all!

But, three years later, on the other side of that situation, I can see where God let me do something, get it out of my system, and solidify in my mind and heart what it is that I truly want for my future. And, this wasn’t the first time I’ve seen him work like this.

Years ago, my husband David was tired of the healthcare industry in our area. He had been laid off, had paychecks bounce, and was just tired of the unrest in his line of work. He mentioned how nice it would be to go to one of the local plants and punch a time clock, do his job and come home, without worrying about the constant turnover in healthcare.

Well, little did we know, he would get the chance to try out his new desire, due to a job loss. It was the worst, most miserable 6 months of our entire lives. Not only were the hours brutal (he worked nights while I was home alone with a young toddler), but the men he worked with were not exactly what you would call a welcoming lot. They treated him badly because he had a degree and I guess he didn’t quite fit in to their world. Some of them were just plain jerks. But he did the job with integrity, while he was there, and made a few friends along the way.

But 6 months down the road, we realized that sometimes God gives you what you think you want, so he can move you on to better things, that you didn’t know you needed.

And that’s exactly what has happened for the past 3 years, as I mentioned before.

We wanted to move and after living in a small town that I never felt a part of, I thought it would be nice to move down the road to the big city. I would be minutes from all the places I shopped and drove to every week anyway. I wouldn’t have to rely on the dreaded highway to get to all the places I loved. I wouldn’t have to live right next door to family, I wouldn’t have to watch my husband take care of two houses, acres of land, and all the other jobs that owning land required. We could buy a house in the city, drive to Starbucks in 5 minutes and be free from all the responsibilities of living rurally.

I prayed and prayed about this move. I gave God every opportunity to shut it down; slam the door, put up obstacles…..but he never did. Instead, all the doors kept opening and we kept moving in the direction that led to all the things I thought we needed.

2 houses and thousands of dollars later, we were left so confused over whether we heard God right or kicked open the doors ourselves, only to realize that we learned everything about what we didn’t want and so much about what we did.

As Paul says in the verses referenced, God opened the door, but even still….Paul’s spirit had a restlessness when he got there.

People, let’s quit judging ourselves when things go wrong. Yes, there are obvious sins that will wreck your world and leave you with horrible consequences. But sometimes you can be right in the middle of God’s will, walk through all the open doors and still find yourself wondering what in the world is going on.

We have to remember that God always has a purpose.

In the wilderness is where the learning takes place. It’s where we seek him and cry out to him and sometimes even question what the heck he is doing and why he’s nowhere to be found.

But then one day, he shows up. A breakthrough happens and the tiny bit of light that breaks through the cloud shines some understanding into your situation. It might not reveal every answer you’ve been asking, but it gives you enough of a glimpse to remind you that God never abandoned you. He was just taking a step back so you would learn to stand in faith.

And, even in the revelation, don’t expect to understand all the reasons God took you through the hard season, because you will be greatly disappointed if that’s your goal.

Instead, find all the lessons, all the blessings, all the growth, all the change that happened in your heart and soul. That’s where you’ll find the peace that surpasses all understanding.

You see, the Lord tells us not to lean on our own understanding and for good reason.

If we pick apart every situation, then we will stand on logic instead of faith.

We will draw conclusions based on what we can reason, instead of accepting that God’s ways are so much higher than ours and we aren’t made to understand everything he does.

That’s why HE’s God!, not us!

So, what’s the rule when a door swings open, then? Do we go through, knowing it could lead to a bunch of lessons that are hard? Or do we hang back, afraid, and never grow, never learn, never move, because we are comfortable in our safe little bubble?

I would guess that anyone who has walked through the hard seasons and come out on the other side, blessed and closer to God, will tell you to go! Walk in faith! Trust in the one who is really there, even when it seems he’s not.

His promises are true, but we will never know the extent of what he has for us, if we won’t trust him enough to walk through the door with him.

Until Next Time.....


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