You’re walking down a dimly lit hallway in a formidable old mansion. There are doors on either side. With each deliberate step the knot in your stomach tightens as if a noose around your neck. More doors. Through squinted eyes, you try to make out something, anything on the doors to help you identify what might be just beyond them. Nothing. As your pulse quickens, you can smell fear mixed with musty old carpet. You’ve never been in this hallway before, yet the familiarity of the experience does nothing to quell the fright of the looming decision. You must choose a door. Choose the proper one, and all will be well. Choose poorly, and you’re done for. With visible breath, you breathe the prayer, “God, please open a door.”
“God, please open a door.” I prayed that prayer countless times for countless people. And on one hand I completely understand the desire for God to make/show us a way to go. But on the other hand, there’s this sense in which it feels as if we’re trapped in some room waiting to be let into another confined room that we hope has the nifty demarkation of being where God wants us to be. Our greatest fear being choosing the wrong door.
But what if the will of God is less like a room with doors and more like an open field? An open field where He says, “Go. Get to know Me. Enjoy all that I’ve created. Do you see the beauty all around you? Feel the warmth of the sun. Be overwhelmed by the breathtaking point where land is overtaken by sky. Experience the joy of deep connection with other people I’ve created. Those gifts and talents I’ve given you…when you use them, it gives me intense joy and causes me to sing over you. Know Me. Obey Me. I am with you. I love you.”
I’m not trying to suggest that God’s plan is never detail-specific. Look at the story of Moses. Every step seems to require God’s direction. And then there are stories like Abraham where it seems as if God says what He is going to do but doesn’t reveal specific details about how He is going to accomplish His plan. So Moses ends up leading a bunch of grumbly people through the desert and Abraham gets to regularly tell Sarah to meet him in their tent…because God said so. Nice.
I know there are people far more intelligent than I who can masterfully explain this topic, but these were just some thoughts swimming around in my head. I don’t know how accurate any of this is, but I fail to find justification for the idea of God being some sort of cosmic gameshow host who asks, “Will it be door number 1? Number 2? Or number 3?”
And yet, I still find myself sometimes whispering the prayer, “God, please open a door.”