This week, my face has been set in a fiction novel. I’m not currently reading one, I’m writing it! The experience in itself is freeing and wonderful. What a great way to introduce and investigate concepts found in Scripture with readers who wouldn’t necessarily be inclined to find there themselves! There was a time when I read three fiction books in a week, but never opened the family Bible on my bookshelf. I’m sure that isn’t an unique scenario in many living rooms even today. My prayer is that my fiction suspense novel will pique the curiosity of the less-than-religious reader to crack open Scripture and have their own look-see at the God who looks little like they’d been taught in “Sunday-School”. Because my mindset has been running on a fictional course this week, this post follows suit. My characters might be fiction here, but they just as easily could be real. The concept God has laid on my heart is certainly not fictional. This week, the God of all has been showing me “doorways” and the deeper implications of them. Bear with me on my course, if you will, and look at four doorways with me. Since this week presents some fiction, feel free to engage your imagination as you look at each doorway! If you feel so inclined when you’re through, write your own “doorway” experience in the comments section at the end. I think that if every reader would do just that, it will become very apparent that there are many, many doorways to God, and that it is He who creates each one, and not some man-made “formula”. Are you ready? Here we go!
~The First Door~
Running Buck was up before anyone in his tribe. He was wide awake even before the sun. He knew that soon, he would be honored in a ceremony marking his passage to manhood. He would be expected to perform the duties of men after that day, he knew, and to put his childhood antics and folly behind him. For the first time, Running Buck wondered about his purpose; the meaning of his life. Moving silently to not wake the others, he made his way down a winding path to the stream. He splashed cool water on his face, took a long drink of it from cupped hands, then stood and experienced the scenery around him with all of his senses. He saw the perfection of everything that morning! The water’s surface was glittering with the colors of sunrise, and tasted pure and refreshing. Birds swooped overhead with their songs of joy. Small creatures in the forest scurried around on the ground all around him. Flowers freshly opened perfumed the air with fragrances as varying as their colors. The sublime beauty and harmony of everything around him gripped his soul, and brought Running Buck to his feet with his arms lifted to the sky. “I see now that everything is perfect and everything is connected” he said with his face upturned. “This is my purpose, to be a part of it all! You will be my guide, Great Spirit in the sky, and I will follow where you lead.” That morning next to the river, God opened a doorway to Himself for the young man to walk through.
~The Second Door~
Cora had grown up in the church. She knew many Scriptures, but never knew the One who’d inspired them. By her twentieth year, she’d lost both parents, and with them, the desire to even bother going to church anymore. She was, however, passionate about the plight of the homeless in her town. On a particular winter night, she was handing out blankets in the back alley where the needy tended to congregate. A young mother was huddled with two toddlers. Cora gave them a warm quilt and sat listening to the mother tell their story. She had heard so many stories, and this one wasn’t much different. They were all so very sad! As she returned to her own warm efficiency apartment, Cora couldn’t shake the memory of the children’s eyes as they’d watched their mother speak. To keep her sanity, Cora had learned to do what she could for the homeless and then disconnect to be able to care her her own needs, as well. But for some reason, she felt all too connected with that tiny family. Overcome with emotion and the feeling of being insufficient to solve such large problems in this world, Cora dropped to her knees and poured out her heart, all of her frustrations, all of her tears, all of her questions, and all of her angst, to a God she’d never really known. As she wept and prayed for all the hurting people she’d met in her time of handing out blankets, God opened a doorway to Himself for the young woman to walk through.
~The Third Door~
Jack was a retired physicist. One of the most successful in his field. His stock portfolio testified to his financial prowess, as did the home he now felt entombed in. In his nineties, he was confined to a state-of-the-art hospital bed, the best his money could buy. His wife had left him when they were in their forties, and his children invested as little time in him now as he had invested in them during their youth. Yes, Jack was a great success on paper, but was empty and broken in the areas that seemed to matter most to him now. All of his days blended together, except for his Thursdays. They were different, and Jack found himself very much looking forward to each one. On Thursdays, Maria came to clean his house. As she cleaned, she sang and talked in Spanish to her unseen God. Maria spoke no English, but joy and peace, Jack discovered, needed no translation. Before hiring her, Jack had done a routine background investigation on the woman. He knew she she was poor, and lived in a small mobile home community with her seven children. Her financial records showed her to be far below the poverty guidelines. Yet each Thursday, his home felt transformed by her sweet voice singing hymns. Not one of his successes had offered him such feelings of joy. Before Maria left each week, she would cheerfully fluff Jacks pillow, adjust his blanket around him, and say a prayer over him. Every Thursday, God opened a doorway to Himself for the old man to walk through.
~The Fourth Door~
A forty year old atheist sat on an inverted bucket next to a crackling fire in her front yard on a warm August evening. She had just been through a day that she knew would never be erased from her memory. A day she’d spent huddled under the kitchen table as a category four hurricane blew by, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. The woman was quiet, although others were with her, lost in her own thoughts as she watched the flames dance across the single log burning. Suddenly, in her mind, she was lifted above and away from the scene she was part of. Higher and higher she rose until the woman she knew was herself looked like a speck next to a spark, sitting there in the yard. From that perspective, she was able to see for the first time how small her life really was. In an instant, she saw something that would take her years to fully grasp. She saw that there was more than the life she knew. She saw that there was a bigger design, and that there was a designer behind it. That night, in the twilight after a hurricane, God had opened a doorway to Himself for the woman to walk through.
Okay, dear reader, I’ll admit it. The last paragraph wasn’t fiction, it was ripped from a page that is part of my own story. I don’t know the ending yet, but that was certainly my own true beginning! I know God today because He gave me a doorway to Himself that night.
It didn’t take long, though, for the teachings of men to cloud the experience I had that night. It only took a few months for me to fall into those teachings, and to begin to believe that there was only one doorway to God, even though it looked nothing like my own. After all, the writings that call themselves the “new testament” teach the “one doorway” doctrine. In retrospect, I see how small God I made God when I sat under that doctrine! The doctrine, though, offered a neat little formula, and we humans like those, don’t we? The formula is comforting. It takes the pressure off of us. It allows us to lay down at night believing we have it all figured out! But we don’t. The formula I believed then looks like this:
- Say the “sinner’s prayer”
- Ask Jesus into your heart
- Believe He has paved your way to Heaven
- Believe you are no longer accountable for your own deeds, but that you are now accountable according to his.
Easy peasy, isn’t it? The things that don’t make any sense under that doctrine (because they fly in the face of Torah teachings) have to be accepted “on faith” I was told. Like why God would impregnate another man’s betrothed, which Torah calls adultery. Or why Jesus would teach us about symbolically drinking his blood, when Torah calls drinking blood is sin. Or how a man could pay for another man’s sin, when Torah states over and over that we are accountable for our own sin. Those things, we are taught, have to be taken “on faith”. “Jesus did it all” that doctrine teaches. Nothing for us to “do” but believe in him! Really? How presumptuous of us to limit God to working through only one man, and how contrary to Torah!
Even after I began to understand that Torah was God’s eternal instructions to humankind, I was still sitting under man’s doctrine of “one doorway”. Understanding that the “Old Testament” was the ancient foundation to stand on, I strapped Tzit-zit and a prayer shall onto Jesus and began calling him “Yeshua” but I was still announcing that the only way to touch God was through him. Eventually, though, I had enough questions that I came to a point where, even if I’d have to admit I’d been wrong, I wanted God’s truth! That was when I decided that if a doctrine didn’t align with Torah, I dismissed it as being truth. Only when I was willing to be wrong did I finally begin to see some truth. God is not confined by time or space. That is truth. He is not measurable in human terms. That is truth. He has no form that can confine Him. That is truth. He is One, the only number not divisible by another whole number. That is truth. Everything was created by Him, and everything exists within him. That is truth. And friends, God makes doorways to Himself for us to walk through, in His perfecting timing and according to His will. In many different ways and in many different circumstances, He makes doorways to Himself. That is truth. Your door may have looked different than the doorways I presented today from my imagination, and certainly your doorway looked different than the doorway He opened for me back in 2004, but you had your own doorway, and I had mine. That is truth!