Several generations ago, during one of the most turbulent of the desert wars in the Middle East, a spy was captured and sentenced to death by a general in the Persian army. The general, a man of intelligence and compassion, had adopted a strange and unusual custom in such cases. He permitted the condemned person to make a choice.
The prisoner could either face the firing squad or pass through the Black Door.
As the moment the execution drew near, the general ordered the spy be brought before him for a short, final, interview, the primary purpose of which was to receive the answer of the doomed man to the query: “What shall it be – the firing squad or the Black Door?” This was not an easy decision and the prisoner hesitated, but soon made it known that he preferred the firing squad to the unknown horrors that might wait for him behind the ominous and mysterious door. Not long thereafter, a volley of shots in the courtyard announced that the grim sentence had been fulfilled.
The general, staring at his boots, turned to his aide and said, “You see how it is with men; they will always prefer the known way to the unknown. It is characteristic of people to be afraid of the undefined.
Yet I gave him his choice.
“What lies beyond the Black Door?” asked the aide.
“Freedom,” replied the General, “and I’ve known only a few men brave enough to take it.”
I heard this story several years ago, and it totally rocked me. Is it true? I have no idea, but I recognize very well the spirit behind it. It changed my worldview, the way I thought. So often the fear of the unknown is so much bigger than the fear and/or despair of the situation in front of us, we’d rather just deal with what we see. In a very real way, it keeps us from living, and from living a life that transcends our every imagination. And you know what keeps us from that? This insidious thing called fear.
But, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)
See, one of the enemy’s greatest weapons is fear, and he knows it. It works so well, he doesn’t have a whole lot of variety – why change what’s not broken? If you have a great destiny (and you do), the best and easiest way for satan to block it is to wrap it up in fear – fear of failure, fear of risk, fear of trying, fear of people, fear of success (yeah, I went there), fear of… you fill in the space. If we don’t have a foundation and a reality in Love, that fear will have us standing in front of a firing squad instead of opening the door to the journey of our destiny.
It’s hard, I know. We’ve lived with fear all our lives, and when we’ve dealt with one layer, there’s another issue that jumps out to taunt us. But Love is being perfected in us, as it says in the verse previous to the one I quoted. And as it get perfected in us, fear has no place. It gives way to expectation and anticipation, love of the adventure, because we have such a creative Abba who loves to hide things for us to find – even behind big, black doors.
So when fear comes to overwhelm me and try to derail me from the awesomeness of my destiny, I refuse to turn away and sit in the execution square. I will open my self up to the perfection of His Love, and move forward into the unknown. He’s a big God, He can take care of me, and I trust Him. And doors, no matter the color, usually open into wonderful opportunities, and if that’s where God is leading, then that’s where I’m going.
Are you coming?