Sometimes the Miracle is "No"

Last week, I talked about a favorite prayer of mine when facing major life decisions:

“That God will open the doors that only He can open and close the doors that only He can close.”

Many times, when it comes to most major life decisions–husbands, jobs, buying homes, choosing schools–you only need one.

The thing is, if you only need one, as you begin to pray for open and closed doors, you may find more doors closing than you would prefer.  Or sometimes, there’s only one door that needs to open, but the timing is off, causing a delay that, if you had your way, you would prefer to opt out of.

It’s easy to pray through life and as the doors open up, give thanks to God for His miracles, but believe it or not, sometimes the miracle is “no.”

I’ve written about this before, but about three years ago, B and I were desperately trying to flee DC.  We had both been there for three years and we had both had enough.  The problem was, each door we tried to knock on kept closing tightly, and we felt stuck with no way out.

After several disappointing closed doors, we decided that grad school would be a good “reset button” and B began preparing to apply to business school.  The problem was, he applied in the third round, which was traditionally the most competitive.  This particular year, it was extremely competitive as they had their highest acceptance rate in the previous rounds. 

One day in April, our escape plan was thwarted once again, as we learned he had been wait listed.  I know it’s just school, but I was devastated.

As inconvenient as it can be, we don’t always get to see the big picture, but as the months begin to unravel, little by little, we catch a glimpse of God’s plan, and always, without fail, we discover that it’s better than anything we could have comprehended.   
A few weeks after we received news of being wait listed, my faithful, prayer warrior of a godmother called my mom to tell her that the night before she had been tossing and turning and praying about B and business school and while she was praying, she felt God say to her, “The miracle is that he didn’t get in.”  
 Now, she wasn’t exactly sure how I would respond to this, because, I’ll be honest, that wasn’t really the “miracle” we were hoping for, but my mom quickly told me, and I allowed my godmother’s words to settle on my heart.
Now, as I look back, I wholeheartedly agree; “The miracle was that he didn’t get in.”  (Here’s a little tip: when selecting godparents for your children, don’t only take into consideration their ability to give cute presents, though that’s a major plus, but be sure you pick someone who can PRAY.  Lucky for me, my godmother, Anne, is gifted (no pun intended) in both arenas!)
When praying for open doors, it’s easy to see the ones that fling open as miracles and thank God, but do we see the closed doors as miracles, as well?  
A few years out, it’s easy to talk about all the ways the disappointment evolved into a tremendous blessing, but let’s be honest, when you’re in the thick of disappointment, it totally sucks.  I know, I’ve been there.  But even when things aren’t going your way, and your perfect life plan takes an unexpected turn, don’t give up.  
In the midst of each pit, discouragement, set back, and unforeseen twist, hold onto the promise that God has not and He will not desert you.  It might be hard to see what’s going to happen, but I assure you that God has a faithful, good, and perfect plan for you.  He hears you, He sees you, and I promise, He’s not going to let you stay in the pit of disappointment and closed doors forever—eventually, He always digs you out!   
   I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV)