The metaphor of knocking on doors.

I realized, recently, that when I imagine the hall way of doors that we “knock” on to find the ones that we expect or hope for God to open for us, I, and others I have spoken to, imagine a dark hallway with a lot of closed, solid doors. I think to myself “why would I knock on a door that is plain? Is there a note on the door or a title engraved in it? That wouldn’t motivate me.” I realized that our perception of closed doors must be flawed.

A dark hallway and opaque doors can’t be accurate for how I perceive a loving Heavenly Father would provide us with opportunities and choices in our lives. We are expected to step forward in faith, not blindly knock on doors like playing some darkened match game. Life isn’t random, neither is the plan for us by an organized, intentional God.

Instead, I realized, our “hallway” is actually a warm and welcoming, brightly lit marketplace. For me, a cobblestone road in an old town district of a city. The marketplace is occupied by shops with large plate glass windows and the doors are made of the cleanest, finest glass. Our lives are window shopping, not darkened hallways of random, unfulfilling doors. We get to wander through this marketplace of life, looking through the windows and glass doorways, gazing upon the many options and opportunities available for us. The shops are all the same for everyone, but each shop is special to us. I am more likely to want to walk into a gun store of military style weapons than a Prada store, but the Prada store is still there – it just doesn’t have an appeal for me.

However, the stores aren’t just full of things (while for many that would be the driving interest), they are also experiences. They are experiences with people, work, lifestyles. They are always going to be shiny and pleasant to gaze upon – why else would we be interested in knocking on those doors? Each store represents life experience, things we may want to possess, and people we want to meet. For me, I am drawn to the art galleries. I love art and artists. I love the experience, the process, and the stories. I create and identify most with creatives. But there are a lot of other people, experiences, and things I also prefer.

Most of the stores are promises. They are visions of what we want in life and the way we believe our lives should be. A store of world travel. A store of eternal love. A store of family, career, etc. We see these stores and we are all window shopping. We see what we want and we want to go in. This is where we approach the door, looking through the glass with excitement and desire, and we knock. You see, all the stores are locked. We now have a choice, but we also have a friend with us: the Holy Spirit.

Some stores say “will be back soon” and the spirit whispers to us to wait. We may get impatient and start looking into other stores, seeing something close, but not what we originally wanted. The next store may open more quickly for us, and what is in side may be ok, but it wasn’t our best. We knock on those doors and they open for us, but they weren’t the right door.

Some stores may have exactly what we want. We knock and the door stays closed. The spirit tells us it isn’t the right door. We can move on or we do what we are more likely to do because we are human; we are natural man. We bust it down and go after what we want anyway. The spirit won’t restrain us, but think about what happens when we bust down a door – we are breaking the law and violating other’s rights. We suffer consequences.

It is hard, walking this market place of desirable store fronts, but allowing the spirit to walk with us, to help guide us to the stores that are best for us, may take us down little traveled side roads where the really good things are. The roads there might not look as shiny and well lit, but the spirit knows where the best things and experiences are for us. Besides, a lot of the time, it is the walking between stores that we have our best experiences, the ones that help shape our preferences as well. We may walk from a shop that was closed to us, and through the process of continued looking, realize that shop wasn’t what we really wanted anyway.

You can see where this metaphor is going, I don’t need to illustrate anymore. I do know that I much prefer the vision of a market place where I feel comfortable, where I can see the choices I have, and see all the neat things and make an educated decision on which door to knock. The idea of darkened hallways with solid doors just doesn’t sound like what the Lord would want for us. I truly believe that He intended for us to window shop for life, to enjoy the process of moving between storefronts, but to He also intended on us to have the best concierge available. I also believe that for the most part, the moving along the market way is the best part of life.