Lectionary from June 1
He stood looking at the large wooden door. The last time he had been on the other side of that door was a year ago. But the world that he knew on the other side of that door was gone. Gone. His home, his neighbors, and his favorite shady spot by the tree he had planted…all gone. How many times had he walked by the large wooden door, wondering when it would open; when he could walk out and smell the fresh air again; when he could put his feet firmly on land? There had been no time table, no scheduled release. He had no idea when the door would open, or what would be waiting for him on the other side. He had built the door, but he was not the one who shut it. And he could not open it. That was up to God. So Noah stood looking at the large wooden door. Waiting.
When I read about this great man of faith I find it hard to imagine what he must have been going through. And then again, as I look at my life, at times I understand completely. I have stood behind that large wooden door. I have waited for God to open it up. I have felt the fear of the unknown, and the anxiety of waiting on God. Now, please do not get me wrong. I know that God knows what he is doing. But still. He doesn’t always tell me. And like Noah, you and I spend a great deal of time standing at the doors of life.
So, what can we do before that big door opens? The first thing we can do is to trust God. His timing is perfect. After all, if Noah would have found a way to open that door early, he would have been sunk…literally. Too often when the door is shut, we become spiritually claustrophobic. I remember the first time Cindy and I flew on a commercial airline. After a great deal of prayer, I listened intently as the flight attendant explained what to do in case of an emergency. That speech was not necessary. I had already scoped out the plane, and I knew exactly where the exits were located. Have you ever noticed that we human beings do that all the time? Watch people. As soon as they enter a room, they look around for the exit. The escape. In our spiritual walk we do the same thing. The next door is very important. If the door won’t budge, we look for a window, or a sledge hammer. The best advice: Don’t panic! God brought you through that door for a purpose, and God will open the next door in his time. I like the verse in Psalms that says “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope” (Ps.130:5).
Next, we need to remind ourselves why we are on this side of the door to begin with. Noah may have been thinking about that big wooden door, but he was feeding animals. When he had time to relax, his mind may have wondered about what the world was going to be like when the door opened, but there was still stalls to clean. And believe me, if Noah would have decided his job was to simply watch the door and wait for it to open, I am fairly sure Mrs. Noah would have hit him upside the head with a bucket.
And speaking of family…too often we forget that they are in the same boat we are in. Even though you and I may be ready for that large wooden door to open, maybe there is someone in the boat who really enjoys taking care of those animals. Family communication is crucial, especially during times of possible transition.
Finally, remember that even though we are waiting for that large wooden door to open to new possibilities and new ministries, God is with us on this side of the door as well. God will not only open the door at the proper time, but he will walk with us thru it. And while he is showing us all the new things, please pay attention. Don’t immediately start looking for the exits. It may be a long boat ride before that large wooden door opens again.