THE OPENED DOOR
Today, more than ever before, Ryan stood ready to meet the day. He had decided that no matter what came his way, he'd keep saying, "It's going to be a good day." Surely, last week's events replayed in his mind and he rehearsed the words he should have said, the way he should have reacted, and the things he should have done. Lots of should haves and could haves but he had not only frozen when it all fell upon him by surprise, his immediate response had been to run, get away and never look back.
Today more than ever, mistakes would not be made. Ryan had prayed, or at least he had tried to. Lately, it was just so hard to really get into that prayer mentality. It seemed he was either too tired, or just the way things had been going on in his life made him wonder if God was even bothering with a has been like himself. There were too many more important issues for the God of the Universe to worry about and he was just an ant in a forest, or at least he felt that way most of the time. But, today, well, today he was going to put on his positive attitude and walk like nothing could get in his way, not today.
The morning was welcoming and the cool breeze reminded everyone Sprint was still passing through and Summer could not just take over with it's overwhelming heat. Yesterday the sun had come out so powerfully, most people had spent the day in shorts and the kind of look you see on a super hot day. Yet, today, you could have sworn Spring was just beginning. Jackets, sweaters and warm blazers were on most bodies, and Ryan enjoyed the feeling of his warm hoodie on his body. Positive. Remember? It was going to be a good day.
Ryan made it to the bus stop, a little late, and knew he had most likely missed the 7:10 am bus. No problem. He had left early enough to know he would still make it to work before 8:00 am. The bus around the corner came close and he was thrilled to see it had for once shown up before the time expected. He walked up closer and waited for the opened door.
The door opened. The bus driver didn't look his way. A man, behind Ryan, waiting to step into the bus behind him, spoke in a deep voice. "The door has opened. Will you get inside or will you wait for the next bus?"
Ryan turned around, a little puzzled at such a question and once more the man spoke. "You have before you an open door. Will you walk in or will you think about it and stay here on the outside, thinking about it, waiting, and never taking the next step?"
Ryan spoke, "You're kidding, right?"
The man remained silent and the bus driver turned to face Ryan. "The door will not remain opened for long. Make a choice my friend. Will you come in or will you stay on the outside. Make a decision. I have to go. There are others, not far away from here, waiting for an open door."
The bus seemed to transform before his eyes and Ryan found himself in a deserted place where the sun was very warm, the air was dry and he suddenly felt extremely thirsty. What could be happening here? He shouldn't have had that decaf coffee. He always had regular. Oh, this had to be a caffeine need taking place in his brain. He shook his head and closed his eyes, reminding himself he was going to keep a clear and positive outlook on his day. What was going on here?
In the distance, there stood a man, clothed in desert robes, white and soft flowing cotton covers on his body and head, sheltering him from the wind and the sand.
The man spoke as if allowing his voice to be carried all around him. "I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you and open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name."
The words echoed until they came fast like a torpedo and smashed against his chest. "I know, I know, I know...."
Suddenly, Ryan felt exposed, as if he stood on the stage of the world and everyone who ever lived knew his past and present. He was weak. He had given up so many times. Shame entered his heart and he felt his body want to give in to the sickness hugging him and making his body clam up.
"Didn't you hear me?"
The man stood a far off and waited.
As the words came rushing at him once more, they no longer came as words of condemnation and accusation. Instead, his mind was suddenly opened to the realization of what they meant, of what he meant.
It was in the moment when Ryan realized his strength was almost gone. Yes, he was trying to motivate himself but the truth was, he was barely able to push himself any longer. He had become deeply discouraged after experiencing one disaster and then another. His courage was vanishing. He no longer wanted to go on. It was so hard to hold on and believe. But, here he was before Him, and He knew, He knew and understood that he wasn't as strong as he should be and yet He had not given up on him. Surely only a closed door meant all hope was gone. Of course, a closed door meant there was no reason to keep believing, keep trying, or even pray any longer.
He knows. God knows.
An open door. The door to enter into God's rest. The door to enter into God's promises. The door to enter into blessings and God's presence. The door was opened to him even in his weakest moments. Even in his doubts and discouragement, God was still standing before him and inviting him to come and enter into his secret place.
Clouds formed on the left, turning from white to dark, and a man dressed in a cloak of shadows slowly walked, never looking at Ryan, but walked towards him. As he walked towards him, a tall, wide wooden door appeared there in the desert and slowly began to open. Behind the door, a warm, inviting light and a joyful sound came forth, inviting him inside. The cloaked presence moved closer and made his intentions clear. He wanted to block Ryan from entering. He was going to stand by the door to keep Ryan from getting close enough to walk through.
As Ryan realized what was happening, he began to run. He ran as fast as he could but the cloaked darkness, although it moved in a very slow, almost crawling pace, was still moving faster than his greatest effort and speed. Taking in deep breaths, Ryan looked towards the darkened cloak and saw inside the cloak, images as if in a replay of his life, all the moments he had failed, all his defeats, all the problems he had gone through and ever time he had been ambushed by an unknown problem and it had just knocked him down.
He saw his confusion and the many times he had shut down and not trusted in God. He saw himself being pulled away from the door and into the deep darkness of anxiety and despair as his eyes felt unable to move away from the images of his weaknesses.
Voices, as if thousand of voices had dropped into the waves of the ocean and come together as one, began to roll through the desert and echo all around Ryan.
I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
You have not denied my name.
The man dressed in white remained calm and peaceful. His lips said, "I know you have not denied my name."
In the midst of every trial, every sickness and discomfort.
In the midst of heavy heartbreak, loss of finances and security, and even when he couldn't pray because he was so hurt, God was reminding him that He knew he had never lost sight of who was the One who gave him victory in the middle of his defeats. God reminded him that he was strong when he felt weak because he had not, for one moment, denied His name.
Jesus. Yahweh. Adonai. The Great I Am. Healer. Messiah. The Anointed One. Jehovah. Jesus Christ. Rapha. El Shaddai.
He stood before Him, the opened door. God's love was the opened door to entering newness of life, hoping again, believing again. He had allowed the enemy to blind him and confuse him for just a moment and here was the King of Kings standing before him and inviting him to enter into his presence once more.
Weakened by the glory of God's presence that suddenly surrounded him and pushed the darkened presence away, Ryan found himself unable to remain standing on his feet and he fell on the warm sand.
"Sir, Sir, are you all right?" A man behind Ryan was taking out his cell phone and dialing 911, calling an ambulance. The bus driver had turned his lights on blinking and was helping Ryan, along with the man behind Ryan, up and on to the seat on the bus.
A few minutes later, an ambulance arrived and the Emergency Medical Technicians were taking vitals and checking Ryan to see if he needed to go the hospital. "Sir, do you know your name? Do you know what happened to you?" Questions. One after another. Ryan slowly began to open his eyes and was still unsure of what had taken place or what was going on around him. He tried to sit up but his head hurt a bit and the EMT told him to relax and stay with his head down for a little longer until they completed evaluating him.
The bus driver returned to his seat to await what the EMT would do. Ryan looked towards him and smiled.
"Let me know if you're going to take him. I need to get this bus moving." The bus driver said.
"Yeah, I think we're going to take him to the hospital just to make sure he's okay." said one of the EMTs.
"I agree," the bus driver added, "He fell pretty hard and he's was out cold for a good time." He turned to Ryan and said, "You go get checked out buddy, don't you worry about anything today. Tomorrow's another day. Get some rest if you can."
The EMTs helped Ryan off the bus by placing him on a stretcher where he sat on and didn't lay down on. As they walked the few steps down and off the bus, there was the man that had stood behind him from the beginning and had called the ambulance.
"One things for sure, son," said the man, "You'll never forget there's an open door before you ever again. No matter how that door would have tried to close around you, while you laid there in the center of that opened door, nothing and no one could ever close it. Even when your strength failed and you fainted, even when we couldn't help get you up, somehow, and I don't know how, you pulled through."
The man looked at Ryan once more and said, "I don't know what happened to you while you were out cold. As you were coming back to us, you kept saying the same thing, over and over....I haven't denied your name. I don't know what that means, son, but I hope that whatever it was, it was for the best."
The bus driver looked at Ryan and smiled. He got ready to depart. As he turned the bus back on and got ready to close the door, his clothing changed and before him stood the man dressed in white, cotton robes in the desert, smiling, radiantly looking into his heart and reminding him of the opened door no one could shut. He spoke into his heart and suddenly every fear vanished.
"Yes, today is going to be a good day." Ryan whispered as they entered him into the ambulance. As if disappearing into thin air, the bus vanished before his eyes, and the man who had stood behind him all the time, transformed into a presence filled with light and two beautiful wings behind him. He walked away and stopped near a woman who seemed sad as she waited with her baby in a carriage, perhaps for the bus. Oh, the bus that would come for this woman. Ryan smiled as he imagined what her journey and her experience would be in the next few minutes. He closed his eyes and smiled once more, not worried about anything, because he understood, God was preparing something greater, something far better than he could ever imagine. He would never stop believing and trusting in the Lord.
Are you walking towards the bus stop today? Could it be you're walking and hoping for a better day, but inside you are discouraged, feeling out of it, sad and hopeless? There's a promise for you today and always. Hold on to the Lord. Continue to confess His name and believe. He knows what you are going through. He had made you an over comer even as you go through the desert and the storms of life.
I love to make up stories. This story came to me as I walked to the bus this week, and in many ways I was Ryan, feeling a lot like him. And, like Ryan, God reminded me that He will open the doors that need to be opened even in the desert for my family, my children, my future, my life. God knows our hearts. He knows what we are going through. He also knows that even when we are feeling down we have not stopped placing our hope in Him. I pray you were blessed in some way and reminded that God will show up in your life as He chooses. Okay, so this is my made up version of God showing up in our lives, but isn't it a great way to hope again? If you were blessed, pass my blogs to a friend.
This story dedicated to all who have had a door closed in their lives lately through a loss of a job, poor health, or things just going really bad without a reason. God is in control and he never closes a door without getting ready to open the one you need to enter through. Love you all.
If you were blessed, share my blog and encourage others.