When God Doesn’t Open A Door

by | May 14, 2018 | 16 comments

My church has been in a study on the book of Esther. Many truths have stood out to me, but one particular bend in Chapter 5 challenged me in a way that I couldn’t have expected. A little background on how I often decide where God is leading me: When stepping out in faith, or even beginning something new, I’m the person who’s looking for the open door. I want the specific answer to prayer, the “thus sayeth the Lord” moment, the talking donkey. It’s not so much that I’m unwilling to step out in faith; it’s simply that I want to know my step of faith is grounded in the Lord’s direction. The “open door” tends to be one of the things I look for. But is that always the right criteria?

When Queen Esther’s cousin and adopted father, Mordecai, informed her of a plot to kill all the Jews in the provinces of Persia, she felt overwhelmed with fear (Esther 4:4). Mordecai implored her to approach the king on behalf of her people, to save the Jews from annihilation. Esther explained to Mordecai that she could only approach the king if he summoned her. Approaching the king without having first been summoned, even as the queen, was grounds for the death penalty. If the king happened to extend grace, he would do so by extending his golden scepter, but Esther wouldn’t know this until after she’d put her life on the line.

Is a closed door really a closed door?

Putting my life on the line is precisely what I would consider a closed door. But Mordecai responded, “Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14.) Now see, this is another problem for me. When stepping out in faith, I’m typically looking for something a little more rock solid than who knows? Furthermore, Esther responded to Mordecai’s plea by saying that she would approach the king and “If I perish, I perish.” Statements like who knows and if I perish, I perish don’t exactly have a ring of guarantee to them. But Esther and Mordecai’s faith wasn’t grounded in the open door scenario. Something else was present.

Esther and Mordecai agreed to fast and pray for three days (prayer is not actually mentioned but implied) with their Jewish communities before she approached the king. We don’t have the specifics of what they prayed for, but don’t we know that one of them was, “Lord, prompt the king to summon Esther! Lord, it’s been over 30 days since she’s been summoned. Move on his heart to call her to his throne so her life won’t be at risk!” Could Esther herself have prayed something like, “Lord, if the king summons me, then I’ll know for sure it’s an open door and I’ll ask the king to spare the Jews!”?

We don’t know for sure, but I have to believe those three days included many prayers for the king to summon Esther. For God to open a door.

When do you knock on a closed door?

But on the third day, there was only silence. No summons. No invitation. No open door.

And what did Esther do? She got dressed. She did that mundane thing we all have to do. Put our clothes on for the day. Then she stood in the courtyard of the king’s palace and faced both her greatest fears and greatest hope. The king extended his golden scepter toward her. She had found favor in his eyes. She would not perish in that moment.

God had opened a door but not before Esther went knocking on it.

God had opened a door but not before Esther went knocking on it.Click To Tweet

When we knock and God opens

As I pondered Esther and Mordecai’s truly remarkable faith I had to ask myself, what was it based on? It certainly wasn’t based on God opening a miraculous door ahead of time safe within the reaches of their comfort zone. It wasn’t even based on a supernatural dream, a prophetic word, or an angel whose first words are typically “do not fear” after they’ve scared everyone to death—this would have been solid Old Testament fare to go on. But Esther didn’t have to wait for an open door or a specific word because she already knew God’s revealed will.

God had already revealed Himself as the personal God of the Jews, their Deliverer, Redeemer, and Rock. Esther knew God’s heart for His people. He’d been revealing it since Abraham. True, Esther didn’t have a guarantee on her life or how exactly this would play out, but she could step out on some pretty incredible history of God acting on behalf of His people. The combination of His unmatched strength and the Jews’ chosen-ness wasn’t a specific guarantee for her personal preferences but it was a solid rock to step out on. Simply put, Esther didn’t have to wait for an open door because God had already revealed His will.

I couldn’t help but ask myself, how much more do we as New Testament believers know the revealed will of God through Jesus? He’s told us through His Word what He cares about: The poor, the lost, the sick, the down-and-outers, the up-and-outers, those on the fringes of society. He cares about people! He cares about His Gospel being proclaimed. He cares about the rule of His Kingdom coming on earth. He cares about our relationships, our love for one another, His church—oh, He cares about His church of which He is the Head. He cares about the friends and families He blesses us with and entrusts to us.

Not only has Jesus revealed the things He cares about, but He’s also told us what to do: Share the good news of the Gospel; make disciples; lay our lives down for one another; store up treasure in heaven and don’t live for the temporal; overflow with joy in Him; pray without ceasing; be generous; love each other with the love of Christ; open our homes to those who need a place to stay; be hospitable; forgive one another; serve one another; be filled with the Holy Spirit; go and tell all about Him…

And sometimes, even knowing all of this, I wait and wait and wait to step out because I’m waiting for Him to open a door. And I wonder if all that is really a super spiritual sounding EXCUSE, in Jesus’ Name. Certainly I believe in God opening doors—we see that exact phrase used in the New Testament. But what Esther taught me is that too often we use this concept as the necessary pre-cursor to doing anything at all, rather than being obedient to what God already told us to do.

I believe that God still specifically directs our steps, I believe He still acts supernaturally, I believe He still calls certain people for certain things, I believe that He still flings doors wide open. I also believe the author of Hebrews’ words that in the former days God spoke at different times and in different ways, but today He has spoken through His Son, Jesus. And if we know who Jesus is, what He cares about, and what He’s told us to do, well then, that is the open door. More specifically—and He said it Himself—He is the door. (John 10:9.)

If we know who Jesus is, what He cares about, and what He’s told us to do, well then, that is the open door.Click To Tweet

What has He asked you to do through the revealed will of His word? What are you waiting for? Maybe the door is already open and God is waiting for us to put our clothes on, stand to face the task ahead, and turn the knob.

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16 Comments

  1. Jaime

    Love this and it is so true! Earlier this year I felt the Lord asking me to step away from something that I really enjoyed and what I was doing was actually for Him. It was nothing sinful or bad but it felt like He was saying it was time for me to grow. So I spoke with some people about giving up this particular area at church and that I wasn’t stepping away from it all together but that I felt I was being led to a different area inside the church. I had no clue what it was or when it would be revealed. I just prayed that He would guide me and show me the way. Fast forward to just last week and the door was flung wide open and I was blown away by what I now feel God was leading me too. I went back to the people in charge and spoke to them and well now we will just wait and see what God has in store for us! The whole time I was waiting I was so scared of where He was going to send me. I just knew it was going to be something I was scared of doing. And while there are still some nerves going on about starting something new. I have so much peace, joy and excitement that out weigh all the nerves that try to bubble up!

    • Sherry Franks

      This is me right now. I prayed and cried and read God’s Word for encouragement. Patience has not been my best source right now. It causes worries of Financial Problems. I even said Lord do you see this? How can I moments? last but not least Why Lord don’t you open a door for me? Praying it through the storms. Thank you for being on my email list. I have taken a couple of bible studies of your books. Loved them truly. I think right now I am in time out with God. No chair needed just on bended knees.

  2. Luanne Botta

    Kelly, this was excellent and something the Lord has used as confirmation to a prayer I have had before the Lord for weeks. Thank you for such insight on a very familiar story! Blessings to you my friend.

  3. Dianna Whatley

    Kelly, I always love your insights. Our ss class has also been studying Esther the past few weeks. Every time I study this book, more and more is revealed. I so enjoyed the points you made especially about the things we already know about what Jesus wants for His people to do in this world.
    Thank you for all you do to further the Kingdom of God!

  4. Stacey Thacker

    “Who knows…”

    Wow. I have never thought of this. I also think that Esther wasn’t instantly brave in this situation. I think years of trials and character building taught her that even if the door was closed, God would be faithful.

    Thanks Kelly.

  5. Jennifer Campbell

    Amen, Kelly! This speaks to my heart in a special way. Thank you for allowing God to use your words to encourage and inspire!

  6. Dawn Freeman

    Great biblical thoughts and insight! Thanks for sharing it.

  7. Lois Eddy

    Oh, Kelly, perfect! This paragraph made me laugh: “Putting my life on the line is precisely what I would consider a closed door. But Mordecai responded, “Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14.) Now see, this is another problem for me. When stepping out in faith, I’m typically looking for something a little more rock solid than who knows? Furthermore, Esther responded to Mordecai’s plea by saying that she would approach the king and “If I perish, I perish.” Statements like who knows and if I perish, I perish don’t exactly have a ring of guarantee to them. But Esther and Mordecai’s faith wasn’t grounded in the open door scenario. Something else was present.” Help us to move forward in faith and not to use the “closed door” as an excuse not to do what we are being called to do.

  8. Lois Eddy

    Oh, Kelly. This paragraph made me laugh: “Putting my life on the line is precisely what I would consider a closed door. But Mordecai responded, “Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14.) Now see, this is another problem for me. When stepping out in faith, I’m typically looking for something a little more rock solid than who knows? Furthermore, Esther responded to Mordecai’s plea by saying that she would approach the king and “If I perish, I perish.” Statements like who knows and if I perish, I perish don’t exactly have a ring of guarantee to them. But Esther and Mordecai’s faith wasn’t grounded in the open door scenario. Something else was present.” Perfect! Lord, help us not use the “closed door” as an excuse not to do what You are leading us to do.

  9. Lynnette Deacons

    A timely word, as always, Kelly! Thank you for your open and honest heart. When seeking God’s will, my usual plan is to keep knocking on different opportunities, trusting the Lord to open the right one. Now, I find myself with an open door, and I’m hesitating wanting to be sure it’s His will. “He’s told us through His Word what He cares about: The poor, the lost, the sick, the down-and-outers, the up-and-outers, those on the fringes of society. He cares about people! He cares about His Gospel being proclaimed.” This answered that hesitation. Thank you!!

  10. carole haines

    I really needed this today. Shared it on facebook. I too always look for an open door, but Jesus says He is the door. It confirmed something God has been saying to me, a direction I feel led to go in, even though I don’t see an open door yet. Thanks so much.

  11. Lanita Anderson

    Kelly – thank you so much for your insight from the book and story of Esther. Even though I’ve studied Esther many times, I’ve never quite thought about it in the same manner. And it was such an encouragement to me!! Thank you…..

  12. Wendy York

    Thank you Kelly for your words of truth which are always full of references to both old and New Testament scriptures — the “whole counsel of the Word of God” ????. Jesus being the door Himself was an amazing thought to end on here! God bless you ❤️

  13. Karen Summers

    Hi Kelly, This was a joy to read today. I hope to meet you someday, either in Virginia or at one of your conferences! God bless you on your journey.

  14. Patricia Jaracz

    So true. Way too often I have made “finding” God’s will like finding a needle in a haystack. He doesn’t make it difficult!!!!!!!!!! And sometimes either of two choices are OK!

  15. Donna Jones

    Heavens, this is good!!!! Thank you, Kelly, for your wisdom and insight. It is just what I needed.

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