This past Halloween my husband and I were Halloween Scrooges. With no kids in the house we decided not to turn the porch light on or hand out candies. Shutting out the world, we watched scary movies in the dark. It was a great night.
That is what a door is, right? A way to separate ourselves, blocking out what is on the other side.
I do not know about you, but there are times when life can be so hard that I just want to shut the world out–close the door and shut myself in. I am sure we have all been there. Times when life is just too much to handle.
I have used this strategy during deployments. There were times during deployments that were very hard to handle and I needed to shut the door to the world and shut myself in. I have used this strategy during times of disagreements with my husband. Those are times when I feel that the security and comfort I have with him are off balance. My tactic is to shut the door and shut myself in.
How about you?
Have you ever shut your door so you could feel safer?
John 20:19 gives us a biblical example of this tactic.
“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’”
Wow. So much is going on in that verse, so let’s break it down.
“On the evening of that day”…. That day is no other than resurrection day. Yes that day.
“The doors being locked”… Put yourself in the disciples’ sandals. Jesus, their teacher and messiah was crucified. They were shunned and persecuted by the Jewish and Roman communities. There were wanted posters all over Jerusalem with their faces on them. Mary came back with the news that she saw Jesus. John and Peter confirmed that the tomb was empty. I do not know about you but I would be scared, confused, and I would shut the world out and shut myself in.
“Jesus came and stood among them”… Remember the previous line? Yes the doors were locked, yet there he is.
“and said to them ‘peace be with you.’” … I LOVE that. At this point I am sure that the last thing on their minds was to feel peace or think peaceful thoughts. They were wanted criminals and dead Jesus was standing among them. But Jesus knew that and that is why he said “Peace be with you.” Then he showed them the hole in his hands and he comforted them and said again “Peace be with you.” And the Bible tells us that the disciples were glad. And relieved too I am sure.
Peace be with you.
So what do we need to take away from this passage? First of all, it is okay to feel overwhelmed and scared. Jesus did not scold them for hiding behind closed doors. Second, no matter how elaborate our security system, we cannot shut the door on him.
Psalm 139 reminds us that we cannot hide from his presence. And that is a beautiful thing. Even when we are trying to shut God out. Bad choices and sin can make us want to shut him out, but no door can keep him out because his love for us is perfect. I find great comfort in knowing that when I need to shut the world out and shut the door, Jesus is shut in with me.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39