One of the many things we got in trouble for as children was slamming the door. Our parents and grandparents were constantly scolding us for slamming doors too hard. It didnt’t take long, a couple of tongue lashings and a few bops on the head, and we eventually became sensitized to the fact that adults really don’t like to have doors, any doors, slammed shut. Cabinet doors, bedroom doors, car doors, refrigerator doors, screen doors, front doors, back doors–all doors were to be closed gently. Slamming doors was only to be done as a very last resort when all other attempts to gently shut the door had failed and a message had to be sent.
Of course, this sensitivity to slamming doors carries over into our adult lives and applies to much more than physical doors. I was reminded of this recently as I assessed my own career path. Since I was a little boy, I always wanted to be in politics. I don’t know why exactly, but the desire to serve the public has been an overriding and guiding force in my life from my earliest memories. Of course there are many other ways to serve, the armed services, the police, firefighters, teachers, etc., but I remained focused on public policy and government. Loved ones around me questioned why I would chose politics of all things for a career. After all, I didn’t come from a political family and we certainly weren’t politically connected. Yet, I remained undeterred.
Along the way to establishing a career in public service, many doors were opened and then not long thereafter gently closed, but at each closing I would simply find another point of entry. At times I would leave the profession for a year or two only to inevitably return. Upon re-entry I would re-double my efforts to succeed and again prove myself. I worked harder and longer and had just enough success not to get totally discouraged. However, the cycle always repeated and at each iteration while the success may have been greater, the door would inevitably shut more loudly and firmly than the time before until in the end it slammed shut with such a shuttering force that the message was unmistakably clear.
In the course of our lives we are faced with many doors. The choices we make and the paths we follow of our own accord may not necessarily be those that God has ultimately chosen for us. Often times, God will find subtle ways of shutting doors and opportunities that we think at the time are crucial to our future. We may not get that job that seemed so perfect or that child for which we hoped, the relationship we are so desperately in may begin to wilt and our best friendship may falter, but God has a plan.
When we persist in following our desires and ignore the subtlety of God’s whisper over our lives, the doors begin to shut harder and stay closed for longer periods of time until finally they are slammed shut. (Often with our fingers still in the door or so it seems!) As painful as this process can be, it is our reminder that Jesus is the door. The pathway to God enters through Him. Our failures and setbacks are God’s way of preparing us for a Kingly purpose. When a door slams in your life, open your eyes, God is sending a powerful message!