I always tell my students that when they walk through my door, they decide if they are going to have a great day or a bad day. The choice is in their hands. Will I walk into this classroom not letting the outside world affect my ability to learn what I need to learn today? Most of the time their choice is negative. They want to have a bad day to justify everything else going on in their life.
Doesn’t this sound like us sometimes?
God has an open-door policy; he wants us to come to him with everything. The good and the bad. However, there are circumstances in my life when I decide that having a bad day and avoiding time with my heavenly father is far better, even when I know he is the ultimate source for my strength and comfort.
Look at the life of Jonah—he had two doors in front of him. The first door was the way God wanted him to take, which was to preach the good news in a wicked place called Nineveh. The second door was the choice to run away from God and go in a different direction. Guess what he chose?
The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me. But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. | Jonah 1:1-3
Sometimes fear and our hard circumstances make or break us from walking through the right door. We know that God is just, he is sovereign, and he is always for us, so
why do we decide to run away from
the one who holds our entire life?
The thing that stood out to me about Jonah’s life was that he was bold enough, after hearing exactly from God what he was supposed to do, to intentionally do just the opposite. He got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord.
That stood out at first because I thought to myself, “What a fool! Who would do such a thing?” Then I realized that is what I’ve done time and time again in my own life.
Look back at the choices you’ve made to try to do things your way. Think about the nights you’ve laid awake with a knot in your stomach, full of fear and anxiety about things that most likely aren’t going to happen anyway. Think about the times you’ve chosen to numb yourself with worldly things or something else that wasn’t really the answer you were looking for or needed. When you “sobered up,” you felt a little emptier than the day before.
The best part of God’s open-door policy is that
the door is always available to us.
He reaches out to us and has compassion for his children. He knows our flesh is weak and will make wrong choices, but his door is a path of endless grace, love, and, most of all, forgiveness.
Jonah realized he made the wrong choice. He thought the fish would be his end, but God, in his divine authority, provided Jonah another chance to do the right thing. God didn’t want to give up on Jonah and he didn’t want Jonah to give up on the people of Nineveh either.
Understand this: while God is inviting us to come through this open door of salvation with all that it entails, it’s not good enough to simply see the open door, or even acknowledge it. You must go through it by faith. Every day is an opportunity to enter the sweet presence of God and experience all that salvation has for us, to be in complete fellowship with him. It’s our choice, and that’s God’s open-door policy.
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. | John 10:9