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Praise him in the hallway
Sarah Habben
by Sarah Habben
December 18, 2022

When someone shuts a door in your face, it’s unpleasant. Momentum is broken. Communication is shut down. What to do? Pound on the door and protest? Slump in the hallway and sulk? Turn and walk away?

When God closes a door, it isn’t pleasant either. When he shuts the door on your careful plans, your carefree assumptions, the dreams you’re invested in, the outcomes you’re counting on—you feel duped. You thought you had God’s understanding and blessing. Instead . . . slam. What to do? Protest? Pout? Turn your back on God?

There’s some folksy wisdom that offers another choice: When God closes a door, praise him in the hallway. The apostle Paul, in prison, said it like this: “Rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4).

But how can we bear the long, dark hallway of disappointment, let alone praise God there? You’ve been in that hallway. It’s not an obvious hangout for joy. Anxiety and loss are there. Grief is in that hallway. But, obvious or not, joy is there too. Because with you in that gloomy waiting area is . . . Jesus. When he closes a door, he doesn’t hide behind it. He steps out and stands beside you with his promises and strength. His Word lights up the long, dark corridor before you like aisle lights in a theater. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

Rejoice always. Because when God closes a door, he guides you through the hallway.