The Black Door

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?

Daddy

I wrote this poem some years ago, and I loved it then. But after I heard a teaching, I realized that I needed to make a change. The poem was about Yeshua, but as I went over it in my mind, I realized that all the attributes were of God the Father. There are many ways to interpret that, but I will just leave it at how much I love and trust my Daddy.

Daddy

El Shaddai?
– Yes dear.
I crawl into His lap and
look into His eyes.
I study His face,
memorize Him by touch.
– Nothing.
I just want to know You.
– I know, He smiles.

Abba!
Frightened by the storms,
I cling to Him.
– Yes, My child.
He becomes a strong shelter;
a Rock that draws me near,
One who is not shaken.
– Nothing.
I just want to know You’re there.
His strong arms protect me.
– I know.

Papa God
I cry.
I sob with a bleeding broken heart
dejected, rejected in my hands.
– Yes, My love.
He takes the heart,
bruised and battered by people and life,
and exchanges it for His.
Restored and whole,
I draw near to Him.
– Nothing.
I just want to hear Your voice,
feel Your love.
– I know, He says
and draws me to Himself.

Daddy?
– Yes, precious.
I look with love into His face,
nestled against His chest,
enthralled by His heartbeat.
As I sit in His presence,
absolutely embraced
in His powerfully loving arms,
words fail me;
not even necessary.
I enjoy just…
Him.
– I know.

A Love that Changes a People

Recently, I was talking to a friend about movies and Braveheart came up. I watched it once and thought it was good, but not one I’m gung-ho to see again. My friend was not of the same opinion at all. He said that it was the most romantic movie he had ever seen. Yes, he’s a he, and as far as I know, very straight. He went on to explain what he meant. Mel Gibson’s character was a peaceable man, not wanting to get involved in the struggles that plagued the country. He falls in loves and marries a girl he has known since childhood, and when she is killed, he changes. Because of her love and his love for her, he rallies a whole nation to stand up and fight for their freedom. To change from being overpowered and cowed under, to a people of pride. Then my friend said something that has stuck with me for these last several weeks; he said to name another movie/story where love so changes a man, who changes a nation (or words to that effect). I thought of some good movies with great love stories, but he was right. When I thought about it, he was really right.

So, I’ve got this friend who’s got lots of relationship problems, and her main issue is that she doesn’t see herself worthy of a decent guy. She keeps getting into these bad relationships, keeps getting hurt, and doesn’t understand why. I’m trying to encourage her, help her understand that she needs to like and respect herself before she can expect anyone else to. She once asked me how I can be so confident and self-respecting, so sure of myself. I didn’t consciously think this before, but at that point and ever since I realized what it was. Abba loves me unconditionally, no matter what, and when the Creator of the Universe is madly in love with you, you can’t help but feel loved, and appreciate the person He loves. Because of His love, any guy who treats me with less than that respect doesn’t even stand a chance. The Messiah’s love is so deep, He went through hell to get me (yeah, literally). That’s kinda hard to live up to…

I found it very interesting that these two subjects have come up in the last couple weeks, because yes, I found the one story that compares. I’m sure you saw this coming. God’s love for us was so compelling that he changed from Godly form and took on the form of a man to go to the cross, take on our sins, and reunite us with Himself. That’s a very blasé summary that doesn’t touch on a fraction of the passion involved, but there you are. A love that changes a man (in a matter of speaking – changes the Creator into a man), which has changed and continues to change not only a nation, but nations. That is the ultimate love story. That’s Who loves me, and with Whom I am in love.