When God Closes a Door, You’re Stuck in the Dark

When God Closes a Door, You’re Stuck in the Dark May 31, 2024

Image via Dall-e

Don’t you love those sweet, reassuring platitudes of modern American Christianity? Nothing like a comforting phrase to sprinkle over the gaping wounds of life’s disappointments and trauma. Today, let’s skewer one of the classics: “When God closes a door, He opens a window.”

The Reality Behind Closed Doors: No Windows in Sight

It’s a saying that’s supposed to soothe the soul when life deals you a hard blow—lost your job? Don’t worry, God’s just locking up that door to your livelihood so He can show you the hidden hatch to an even better gig—one that presumably involves more heavenly light and less earthly struggle. Your relationship ended? No problem, God’s simply sealing off that particular emotional exit and pushing you toward an even brighter love story, complete with a panoramic view.

Except, here’s the thing: sometimes, when God closes a door, there are no windows. There’s not even a skylight. You’re just left standing in the dark, fumbling around, wondering what happened to the light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s be real for a moment. Life doesn’t always offer a convenient escape route when things go wrong.

Think about it: how many times have we heard someone lament their misfortunes only to be met with this trite response? It’s the verbal equivalent of handing someone a Band-Aid for a bullet wound. Sure, it might make you feel better for a moment, but it doesn’t actually address the real issue. Sometimes, doors close because life is messy, unpredictable, and, dare I say it, not part of some divine architectural plan where every closure is matched with an alternate exit.

Biblical Stories: Not Every Closed Door Leads to a Window

Let’s consider the biblical stories for a moment. When Joseph was thrown into a pit by his brothers, there wasn’t exactly a window he could climb out of. Sure, eventually, he made it to the top, but that involved a lot of slavery and imprisonment before the so-called window opened. And what about Job? Doors closed all over the place for that guy, and it took a lot more than a conveniently opened window to set things right.

We need to get comfortable with the idea that sometimes, life just sucks. And it’s okay to say that. It doesn’t make you less faithful or more cynical. It makes you honest. When we tell people that God is going to open a window every time a door closes, we set them up for disappointment. We need to be better at admitting that sometimes, we’re just stuck in the room with no way out, and the best we can do is sit with each other in the darkness.

Embracing Reality: Life Isn’t Always Full of Open Windows

Instead of relying on these feel-good clichés, let’s embrace a theology that’s grounded in reality. Sometimes, doors close, and there’s no immediate sign of hope. Sometimes, we need to acknowledge the pain, the confusion, and the sheer unfairness of it all. And in those moments, perhaps our role is not to offer hollow reassurances, but to simply be present, to listen, and to help each other navigate the dark.

So, next time someone tells you, “When God closes a door, He opens a window,” feel free to respond with a snarky grin and a dose of reality. Because sometimes, there’s no window, and that’s okay. We can make it through the darkness together, one stumbling step at a time.

Until next time, keep questioning, keep challenging, and keep the snark alive.


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About Stuart Delony
I'm Stuart Delony, your companion on this exploratory journey. As a former pastor now podcast host, I've shifted from sermons to conversations with Snarky Faith, promoting meaningful discussions about life, culture, spirituality. Disheartened by the state of institutionalized Christianity, my aim is to rekindle its foundational principles: love, compassion, and dignity. If you're yearning for change or questioning your faith, you've found a refuge here. You can read more about the author here.
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