May 28, 2013

Is the door open? Or closed?

There is a story about a certain queen who got in an argument with her husband. He stomped out and locked himself in their bedroom. She pounded on the door and he asked, “Who is there?” She replied, “I am the Queen of England! Let me in!”

He did not open the door. After repeating her actions several times, she finally tapped lightly on the door. When he asked who it was, she said, “It is your wife.” He let her in.

I’m not sure about the truth of this story, but I do know about another door. On one side of it, it is the door to my heart. On the other side, my side, it is the door to the throne of God. While either side may knock on that door, the answer to the question, “Who is there?” has several possibilities.

Behold, I (Jesus) stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

The door to my heart can be closed to God, shut because I’ve reasons for not wanting to hear Him or let Him in. Maybe I’m harboring sin in my heart, or trying to run my own life. At times like that, Jesus patiently stands and knocks, waiting for me to hear Him and open that door.

A few verses later, John, the writer of Revelation says God brought him around to the other side of the door, the side where humanity stands and where the door opens to God.

After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” (Revelation 4:1)

For John, that door was wide open. He had learned what Jesus meant when He said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9) He was granted free access to the throne of God by entering through that narrow but blessed way offered by His Son.

This morning I read again the model prayer that Jesus taught His disciples…

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.” (Luke 11:1–4)

The story of the angry queen came to mind, as did the idea of the door to my heart and the door to God’s throne. Imagine standing at that latter door and demanding to be let in for reasons like, “I am a good person” or “I’ve given X dollars to the church” or “I deserve to be heard.” The door remains closed because the only way to be heard is by first getting down to the truth about my identity. The door will open only when I can honestly admit, “I am a sinner.”

Then imagine God standing at the door to my heart. I’m that stubborn sinner who refuses to open it to “Almighty God” or “High and Holy God” or even to “Creator” or “Redeemer” but when I am willing to say, “Who is there?” and hear Him say, “It is your Father” something happens to my heart. I am eager to invited Him in.

Perhaps this works for me because I had a good earthly father, but more and more I realize that even those who have had abusive fathers still long for a father, a daddy who loves and protects them, who cares for them and wants the very best for them. The pain of abuse is deep because we want and expect a dad’s love and devotion.

“It is your Father,” also works for me because it evokes another response. Yes, I think of my sinner identity when I say, “Father” but I’m not just a sinner, just another rebellious human being who needs to let the Father God into my heart. I am also His child, His little girl. I can open the door and run to Him with my broken doll, skinned knee, disappointments and pain, because I know that He gladly opens His arms and longs to hug me and kiss it better. And even if all is well and there are no particular needs in my life, I can still open the door and have lunch and a cup of tea with my dear Father…

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

No comments: