Doors and Windows
At some point in your life you have had a proverbial door slam shut in your face. Maybe it was a promotion you thought would be yours…that wasn’t, or an adoption that fell through in the eleventh hour, or betrayal in a close relationship that blindsided you.
You probably heard the common platitude, “when God closes a door he opens a window,” from at least one well meaning friend or acquaintance when you felt your world was falling apart. Did it help?
Yeah, I didn’t think so. Me either.
Praise in the Hallway
On Instagram this week, Women of Faith posted this nugget of wisdom: Until God opens the next door, praise Him in the hallway.
Now that’s a breath of fresh air!
Because sometimes there’s a long gap in the timing between a door slamming in your face and a new open portal–either window or door. Sometimes we find ourselves waiting in the hallway, for a looooong time. Sometimes we are in the In-Between.
I know that’s where I am. I’m in the hallway of life.
And I’m pretty sure the last person here forgot to leave the light on, cause it’s dark. Thankfully, I don’t need to see where I’m going in order to praise God. I can praise Him just as well here in the dark hallway as I can in the light. When we look to the Bible, we can see three ways to praise in the midst of a dark season of waiting–we praise through Faith, Obedience, and Proclamation.
Praise through Faith
Recently God reminded me of a word He spoke to me last September when I was struggling to surrender a broken dream. I was trying not to say No to God, but let’s face it, I was saying No.
One morning, in the middle of weeping and praying on my commute, I heard him whisper to my heart, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40)
Jesus said this to Martha after He asked them to roll the stone away from the cave where Lazarus’s body had been entombed.
To everyone assembled, it looked like there was no hint of glory, just weeping and grief. Martha was in the dark hallway of life, but boy howdy, did she praise! Her praise came in the form of extreme faith in Jesus’ power and goodness.
From the start when Jesus arrives on the scene, Martha says she knows Jesus can do anything. She doesn’t ask Jesus outright to raise Lazarus from the dead, but she leaves her request dangling, unsaid but implied. She says “But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” (John 11:22)
To me that’s extreme faith. She has already been grieving for four days, and yet, she still has faith, even hope, that Jesus can turn everything around in an instant. And Jesus does just that!
Praise through Obedience
For me, on that morning commute in September, I wasn’t sure that opening my heart up and hoping again was worth the risk of pain. Though God was asking me to trust Him, despite the fact that what He asked was painful. Obedience is another form of praise in the dark hallways of life. Obedience doesn’t require us to be certain of the outcome before we obey; obedience is offering praise through our submission to God’s will and timing.
God doesn’t ask us to do hard things because He’s sadistic or enjoys watching us squirm. No, God asks us to surrender patterns and mindsets that are preventing us from experiencing His healing, freedom, and light in our lives. And He asks us to wait with hope for promises that He is eagerly desiring to give us.
It is our joy to obey God because we know that in doing so, His glory is coming. His glory is awe inspiring, terrifying, and beautiful all at once. If you need a reminder of God’s glory check out the story starting in Exodus 33 when Moses asks to see God’s glory! Or when Elijah spoke with God at the entrance of the cave in 1 Kings 19. God’s glory is worth waiting for!
If we look at the patterns in the Bible, we can see circumstances often get dark before the promised glory arrives. A promise is issued and then there is the period of waiting, sometimes years, before the promised glory arrives. Check out Hebrews 11 which is filled with those who waited and praised in the hallways of life. Moses with the fleeing Israelites, Sarah waiting on a promised child, Abraham, Elijah. On and on the list goes.
Praise through Proclamation
David knew about dark hallways, too. He found himself on the run and in hiding, contending and waiting for God’s glory to be revealed in His life. He praised prophetically as he proclaimed the coming goodness of God in his life, even while in the midst of the darkness, the waiting, and the fear. So many of the psalms were created out of desperation and praise as David reminded himself that God was his salvation and comfort. Here’s just one example of David praising through proclamation.
For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.Psalm 27:5-6
I made a difficult decision last month to trust God as He led me on a path that was different than I had expected. In the middle of that decision He spoke John 11:40 to me again. He’s so patient and kind to remind me again and again that He’s trustworthy.
“Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
Here I am weeks later, waiting for an open door or window, but I know that even here in the dark hallway, I have countless saints in my life and in the Bible who walked the path before me. They praised in the dark, remained faithful in the waiting, clung to hope. They praised through faith, obedience, and proclamation. And I will, too.
It’s a choice. We can choose to praise. We might have moments of despair, but ultimately, we can bring all of who we are and stand, unashamed, in front of the One who knows our heart intimately.
While we don’t have to hide our true thoughts from Him, He asks us to remain faithful in hope that we will experience His glory in our lives.
Truly, His glory is coming and it’s worth waiting for! Let’s praise Him while we wait.