It’s rivalry week in college football, and I can’t wait to watch the amazing matchups! I am especially pumped to see Michigan vs. Ohio State with their longstanding tradition as rivals, and both having so much on the line.

As these two teams fight for a spot in the college football playoff, we will not only witness plenty of talented players on the field, but also two head coaches who provide great intrigue.

There are interesting back stories to how Urban Meyer ended up at Ohio State and how Jim Harbaugh came to Michigan. Each of these situations involve opened and closed doors.

Despite great success and championships wins, Meyer had to step away from his job at Florida to deal with health issues. A door opened for him to spend more time with his family and get a job with ESPN, but the door closed (temporarily) to continue coaching.

After a few years had passed, one of the best jobs in college football opened up and Meyer walked straight toward the position of Ohio State’s head coach.

Jim Harbaugh’s story includes turning around the San Francisco 49ers franchise as their head coach, taking them to three straight NFC championship games, and making a Super Bowl appearance. Despite his significant success, problems with management led to the door shutting for him to continue with the team.

It wasn’t long, however, before Harbaugh was presented with another opened door – this time at his alma mater, Michigan. Since offering him the reins to their football program, Harbaugh is already in National Championship contention in his second season.

I’m a big believer in the idea of opened and closed doors in our own lives, too. I’ve experienced the frustration of closed doors, but also how situations have turned out for the best. I trust God when He is the one clearly opening and closing the doors, and believe the difficulty in waiting is well worth it.

Because God is in control and sees the whole picture, He leads and guides us to do His will. Throughout this journey, we may experience many closed and opened doors, but if we seek His wisdom and discernment, we will know we are right where we need to be – even if we have to wait longer than we hoped.

I’m encouraged by what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 2:12 (NLT): “When I came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me.”

When we are pursuing Him and desiring to do His work, God will open up doors of opportunity. When we are waiting and looking for an opened door, or in the season of facing a closed door, we can cling to Matthew 7:7-8 (NLT):

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

 Most importantly during these times, we must seek Jesus and have our hearts aligned with Him. As Psalm 37:4 (ESV) says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Today, let’s be encouraged that a closed door is an opportunity for the Lord to do something more in us and through us, as He prepares to open the next one. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I place my trust in You, even when doors in my life close. I know You are in control and have the power to open any door necessary for me to do Your will. I pray I would seek You no matter what, and depend on You for strength as I wait. You are good and I know You are working in me and through my circumstances. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.