One time, I was walking through a government building. There were two sets of double doors about fifteen feet apart. They were both automatic doors. When you walked through the first set of doors, you had to let them totally close before the next set of doors would open. As long as I stayed at that first set of doors, the second set would not open. It's the same principle in life. If you're sitting around nursing your wounds, feeling sorry for yourself, you're not going to see anything new. You've got to let those doors totally close. Let go of the disappointments. Let go of the failures. You cannot change the past, but you can change the future. If you'll move forward, you'll see the new things God has for you.
The Scripture says that "God will give you beauty for ashes." Here's the key; you have to let go of the ashes before you can receive the beauty. Ashes represent our broken dreams, failures, disappointments and hurts. We all have our share of ashes. As long as you're holding onto the ashes, thinking about the disappointment, mad at somebody, bitter at the past, then you won't receive the beauty. An exchange has to take place. It's an act of faith to say, "God, I'm forgiving this person who hurt me." Or, "I lost my biggest client, but I'm not going to have a chip on my shoulder." "My friend betrayed me, but I'm going to keep a good attitude." That's when God can give you the beauty.
You might say, "Well, Joel. They hurt me too badly. I can't forgive them." That's a heavy price to pay. If you won't let go of the old, you can't receive the new.
"Well, we prayed for our mother and she didn't get healed like your mother. We don't understand it."
I don't claim to understand it all. I'm simply asking you to let go of the ashes. Let go of the disappointment. Let go of the blame. Take those ashes, your broken dreams, your hurts, your failures, even your questions, put them into God's hands and say, "God, it wasn't fair. They hurt me. My dream didn't work out, but I refuse to live life looking in the rearview mirror. You promised me beauty for ashes. So right now I'm releasing the bitterness. I'm forgiving the person that hurt me. I'm letting go of the disappointments. I'm letting the old doors close so I can walk through the new doors You have in front of me!"
"…See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut…" (Revelation 3:8, NIV)