Is It a Closed Door or an Opportunity?

by Abby McDonald March 8, 2024
“But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” John 11:22 (NIV)

I combed through my emails, looking for a response to a question I’d been asking for weeks: Did I get the job?

For the first time in 14 years, I was entering a season where all my kids were in school. As I sought opportunities to enter the workforce again, this job seemed like the perfect fit — but now I thought perhaps it wasn’t God’s timing.

Finding no new emails, I shut my laptop and thought, God’s answer to this prayer must be a “no.” I hadn’t asked Him for confirmation, but I assumed the lack of response meant the door was closed.

As much as I dislike admitting it, this was not the first time I had made assumptions about God’s answer to my prayers. Although I seek His guidance before making decisions, I often draw my own conclusions afterward if He doesn’t respond on my timeline. I decide what the silence means before giving God space to speak to me through it.

It’s comforting to see that people in Scripture faced this too. For instance, if there was ever a person who had reason to think an outcome was certain, it was Martha. When her brother became ill, she sent word to Jesus. But instead of coming quickly, Jesus waited until Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days.

At this point, Martha could have assumed that the window for a miracle was over, that healing wasn’t part of Jesus’ plan. But when she saw Jesus, her words revealed the hope she still had:

“But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask” (John 11:22, emphasis added).

Even now, in the middle of the grief and weeping.
Even now, when the tomb was closed.

Martha’s interaction with Jesus showed her faith in His abilities. Still, her hope ultimately was not in an outcome but in Jesus’ identity. She said, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (John 11:27, NIV).

What if we saw spaces of waiting as opportunities to seek God? To declare who He is? Instead of concluding we already know the outcome, we could let the silence lead us to deeper faith.

Although I thought the job opening was closed, I kept seeking God’s direction through prayer. After three months, a response landed in my inbox. Despite my presumption, God answered my prayer with a “yes.”

This surprise reminded me that God wants us to come to Him in the waiting, not make assumptions. His answer may take longer than we want, and it may look different than we expect, but we can know He hears us. And He will answer.

God, thank You for always moving on our behalf, even when we doubt. When we pray, may our knowledge of who You are lead us, and may our assumptions be replaced with patient expectancy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Abby McDonald’s book Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God offers more insights about how a simple shift in perspective can allow the power of God to reign in our lives.



Are there areas of your life where you can’t seem to find a breakthrough? Click here to take Abby’s “5 Days to Life Unstuck Challenge.” You can also connect with Abby on her website and Instagram.


Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (NIV).

Is there a prayer that you think God has answered with a “no” but that could be an opportunity to seek Him more? Tell us about it in the comments.

© 2024 by Abby McDonald. All rights reserved.

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