Sometimes the way out is the way inside...
We were heading down the hall out of the movies one evening and saw an obvious couple coming in the EXIT by way of a group of people. The door is usually locked and no entrance is allowed to the theater except by way of the lobby after you pay for your tickets. I remembered kids doing that when I was a teen (eons ago). Sometimes they were caught-but other times they weren't.
At our church we are getting ready to do an outside facelift. We have been entering via an exit door on the parking lot side. It's a little confusing to new visitors, especially if it's closed or locked. That is, until a smiling face opens it from the inside and assures them that's the way inside.
I was a little wistful at the thought of the sign on the door possibly changing or being removed. When I see that exit sign, I feel like I am exiting the World for a couple of hours to meet with God and His people. I can totally focus on music, prayer and scripture and it fills me. Leaving the World and it's worries outside on the hot parking lot asphalt, I welcome the Living Water that refreshes my soul.
There is a gate in Jerusalem that has been sealed. No one can enter or exit through this gate. It's called the Eastern Gate or the Beautiful Gate. Ezekiel 44:1-3 speaks of it staying closed until the return of the Messiah. Once before it was open and this is how God's glory came in to fill the temple. Another time it was when Jesus rode into the city on a donkey and was received as a king. They say when Jesus returns the final time, the Eastern Gate will open to receive Him.
Some think that the door to heaven is sealed shut for them; locked tight and entry is forbidden. Others think this door is wide open for anyone to stroll through--whether they believe in God or not.
Can I tell you something? Heaven's door is like an EXIT door. It's the way God came down to be with us. He exited heaven and became a baby, lived with humans for 30 something years and returned after His resurrection from a horrible death.
And Jesus promises something. He said "I am the Door". So it's not like we have to murmur a special password to St. Peter or do a certain number of good deeds to get in. We simply have to understand Jesus is The Door, the only way inside...the One who exited heaven and stands waiting for us...holding it open to all who want to come by way of Him. Unlike the movie theater, your ticket to Eternity is already paid.
There is one more door I'd like you to think about...it is the door of your heart. Many have answered that door when Jesus came knocking. There are several that have sealed that door as tightly as the gate in Jerusalem. There is no entrance for a Messiah there. But when you think about it, there is no exit either.
There is no way for the guilt and pain to leave your life.
Not allowing Jesus entry into your life traps the dark, it bottlenecks within. There are sleepless nights that swirl with the dust of regret. There are outbursts just waiting for agitation to scratch the surface and explode like an over-filled balloon. There are numerous ways to try to forget all the junk, but in reality they only magnify the dark.
The Bible says that Jesus stands at the door and knocks. Time to throw open that rusty lock, slide back the chain and remove the chair you tucked under the doorknob. You will find you had only taken yourself hostage.
Dear reader, the way out is the way inside. It's not an escape, it's entering in to where God is waiting for his children to return from their awkward exits. He doesn't lock and bar that door. He has provided a way for you to return through His son Jesus Christ.
I pray your exit strategy includes The Door that is always open to receive. And one day I hope we both get to see the fear-filled beauty of His return...when He blows through the doors of that Jerusalem gate at His Second coming.
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 (ESV)