When one door closes, another door opens?

You probably know this saying:

When one door closes, another door opens.

The more “Christian” form is:

When God closes a door, he opens a window.

Today I heard this, once again, in a conversation I had. And yes, I get why people say it (it’s reassuring), but on the other hand… there’s something very false in it… something isn’t right….

Let’s start with the following. “When God closes a door, he opens a window.” is nowhere in the bible. Full stop. So this is not a promise from God. It’s a fun self-made saying, but it’s NOT a Bible verse. It is not necessarily wrong for that reason, but neither should we embrace such statements because they bear some resemblance to a “bible verse”.

There are more such semi-religious saying, which are absolutely catchy. The problem is, if you’re not careful, we’re going to make decisions based on the feeling these sayings evoke. And that does not have to be the (Biblical) truth.

But could this saying be a Bible verse? It does sound nice. But is it true? Or are we trying to boost ourselves in this way?

In the bible, it is indeed said that God opens doors:

And when they arrived, they called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.

Acts 14:27


For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries

1 Corinthians 16:9

So, it is a fact that God opens doors. But that’s not what the saying tells us. When God closes one door… does another open? Is an open door always a good sign? Let’s start with that.

The most important question here is: what is the definition of good? Is your definition of good the same as God’s definition of good? How do you interpret an “open door”? Always as good news?

Let’s look at the story of Jonah (the one with the whale). Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh and went looking for a ship to flee (from God) and also found a ship! Was that an “open door”? Was that a sign from God that God thought that was “good”? No. On the contrary.

And there are many examples in the bible where removing obstacles is not a necessary a good sign that God has opened “a door” for you.

A closed door then? Is that always a sign that God doesn’t want you to go? Back to this verse:

For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries

1 Corinthians 16:9

Yes, a door had been opened, but was it without resistance? No. It clearly states that there were many adversaries. When God opens a door, it can also mean that trouble is waiting just over the threshold. A lack of calm about “something” does not mean that a door is closed.

The bible is FULL of bible verses that we need not fear and that God is there for you. So “I don’t feel good about it” or “this doesn’t feel right” or more of that kind of stuff doesn’t necessarily mean that that door should stay closed or stay closed. The same goes for the feeling: “this door opened easily, then it is from God!”…. nope.

Because about those “feelings” the Bible is very clear:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5–6

In other words, an open door is not necessarily a door that God has opened for you and a closed door (or resistance) does not necessarily mean that God says: stop.

Now back to the saying (I repeat, this is not a Bible verse):

When God closes a door, he opens a window.

Instead of worrying about that saying, we must better worry about how we distinguish what a closed door or open windows means.

As you have read, we cannot rely on our feeling whether something is “open” or “closed” and a good or a bad sign, but God calls us to attune ourselves to His will as stated in His bible and to act accordingly.

If the bible says A… and your gut feeling says B… then who is right? That’s right: the Bible.

Let’s face it, we live in a rotten world, FULL of resistance and rottenness. Sometimes you have to struggle through thorns to get anywhere. When we do good things (for God), we start to experience opposition. That opposition is not a direct sign from God that we must stop… the Bible is very clear: you will experience opposition:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:10-20

It is also possible that you sit for a while in a room where no door opens… none… everything is closed… sealed shut. The best known story in the bible is from Job… oh boy, what a story. Prayed his socks off, but everything and everyone around him died. Not a single door was opened for a very long time….

“When one door closes, another door opens.” is thus far too simplistic and not true. To make that your life motto is therefore not good at all, this is not a stable basis, on the contrary. All you’re doing is fooling yourself into thinking that after a closed door, there’s always an open door… which (unfortunately) isn’t true. Yes, in the short term that gives a good feeling and hope, but let’s be honest:

People become (terminally) ill, people die and the door of your life will close eventually….. That door will never open again. We lose people around us who will never come back…..

So if you believe in that saying… sooner or later, you’ll find out, in a really, in probably a nasty way, that it’s not right. And most likely at a very bad time…. And that hurts.

And now the good news…. God does have a plan…. The door of death is going to smack us in the face, in due time. And humanly speaking, that door is indeed closed, but:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

If you believe that Jesus died for you… trust His plan. God knows why sometimes a door stays closed, and no other door seems to be opened. For even the door of death, He has opened. And no, that doesn’t mean we can always see that right now… but He has a plan. Listen to Him and not to sayings about doors and windows…and trust not your own understanding. If you do that (trust your own understanding or trust sayings like in this example), you will eventually walk FULL FACE… into a brick wall…. Eternally….

But, if you trust God and follow His will… and You will find His door is always open for you, eternally….

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