By Melissa McLaughlin
How we longed for the day when our house would be filled with the pitter-patter of tiny feet. My husband and I imagined a swing in the backyard, bedtime stories and family walks to the park on Sunday afternoons. Unfortunately, my first pregnancy was extremely difficult. Consequently when our second child was born, we knew she would be the last. That door had closed. Our two precious daughters were a gift from God that we cherished with all our hearts. We were grateful for this sweet family of four.
One day all of that changed. On the way home from church, my husband asked if I had ever thought about adopting a child. From that moment on, the possibility of adoption tugged at my heart and tapped on my shoulder week after week. At the doctor’s office, I would “happen” to open a random magazine to a story about adoption. While listening to the radio one morning, “out of the blue” a local sports station broadcast a story about adoption. Colleagues brought up the topic of adoption in the break room.
Though we thought the door was closed to more children, it seemed the Lord had other plans.
God continued to whisper His invitation to adopt day by day. We enrolled in a foster/adoption program at a local foster care and adoption agency. We completed the training sessions and home visits required for state approval. We looked through profiles of children who matched our family and soon a child came up that caught our eye. We had prayed for a child younger than our two daughters, of any race or sex. This little boy was just the right age, about two years younger than our youngest child.
The case worker organized an initial visit. We waited with joyful expectation as the day approached. Two days before we were scheduled to visit the little boy we knew from our paperwork, the case worker called and asked if there was any way he could move in instead, as there was an unexpected change in his housing arrangements. I called my husband at work and we both gave a resounding, “Yes!” So, rather than preparing for a visit, we began preparing the spare bedroom for our son.
I will never forget the day the case worker drove up with our soon-to-be son in the van. We were out front waiting, smiling and waving, nervously excited. I could see a little boy in his car seat in the back. He turned his head and looked out the window with his soft brown eyes. Gently he lifted his hand, gave a little smile and waved to us. How brave he was. In that moment, my heart melted for him and a deep mother’s love washed over me for this precious child God had added to our family in an unexpected way.
Though that first day was just the beginning of a long journey of family bonding and love, it sealed our family forever. We were no longer a family of four, we were a family of five!
Sometimes, when God closes a door, it is because He has something in store that we could never imagine for ourselves, painting a more beautiful masterpiece, adding hues and strokes we don’t possess in our limited vision.
When God closes a door, how should we respond?
Let’s take a brief look at a Biblical example. In 1 Chronicles 17, King David desired to build a house for the LORD. Years earlier God guided Moses in building the Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting, where the people gathered to worship God. Once David became king, he wanted to build a permanent structure to gather for worship. David loved the LORD deeply and wanted a fitting place of worship for One so great.
God’s response to David’s request?
God said He would build a “house” for David, as God would place a descendant of David on the throne of Israel forever. 1 Chronicles 17:7-14 God would not allow David to build a house of worship. God later clarified in 1 Chronicles 22, explaining that David had shed too much blood in war and God’s house would be a house of prayer for all people. Isaiah 56:7 Although David was not permitted to build a house for the LORD, God granted David’s son this privilege. Further, God returned David’s loving desire to honor the LORD by honoring David’s family with the gift of permanent kingship.
God closed the door on David’s dream of building a house for the LORD. However, God blessed David in ways he could not have imagined.
How did David respond? With gratitude, praise and humility. David’s responsive prayer in 1 Chronicles 17:16-27 flowed out a heart of love for the Lord God, remembering all God had done for him. Especially touching was the way that David began his prayer, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?” Adding to this humble opening, though David was rightful king, throughout the prayer he referred to himself as God’s servant.
When my dreams for ministry or passion to accomplish great things for God are brought to a halt, does my heart pour forth in prayer like David?
Are there doors God has closed in your life? Has God used those endings to bring about new beginnings?
May we seek to respond like David, with gratitude, praise and humility. And may we wait. For maybe, just maybe, God is orchestrating a symphony of experiences using instruments and people we cannot yet see or imagine. In God’s hands the music of our lives will echo with heavenly harmonies and sacred strains.
When God closes a door, may we humble ourselves, pray and rejoice!
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9