Once there was a girl and she walked through the halls of a large, sprawling house which she did not build. She carried a blueprint in her pocket and sometimes she consulted it for direction, but not always. The girl walked, in and out of halls and rooms, through every year of her life. In each new room, there were a number of doors, and when she chose one and walked through, she left some things behind and always discovered something new. Some of the rooms she entered were dark and some were light but most had a mix of both. The girl never knew what she would find in a given room, but she could guess based on the look of the door. The door’s appearance could fool you, however, so you had to be careful. The more you walked, the more you understood that very real danger, but mostly it was clear enough. There were beautiful, inviting doors that led to bright, open, sunny spaces, just as you’d expect. Those doors were painted in colors that looked like friendship and opportunity and grace. Anyone would throw open the door, run right in and be happy on the other side, and the girl was no exception, but you could never stay in one room for long. You had to keep walking. It was one of the rules of the house.
As the years went on, the girl climbed stairs and covered a lot of ground. She’d walked over four stories of the large house, through hundreds of rooms. It was tiring, but occasionally she’d find a bed or a blanket and time to rest. Those rooms were among the sweetest in the house. From other rooms, there was just one exit door, with no option but to open it and walk through. On those occasions, the sole choice was how long to wait before turning the knob. Like the night she discovered her mother was so sick, and the early morning she found out her mother was dying. Those doors were ugly and scary and they looked like death and loss, and the girl dared not even touch the handles. On those days, Someone had to push her through, but she did go, eventually. The rooms on the other side were just as unnerving as she had feared, but there was light there, too. The girl kept walking.
One day she came to a door that was shorter and smaller than any she’d seen before. She had to get on her knees to get a good look, and she did not like what she saw. Made of scarred wood and twisted metal, it frightened her more than any she could remember. It was splintered with submission and unknowing. Walking through it could end her life, she knew. But she could not stay where she was, and the only other option was to leave the house altogether. Once outside, it would be all but impossible to get back in, and the girl had no idea what to expect out there. Though the house wasn’t perfect, the girl had always lived under the protection of a roof, every single day of her life. Who knew what she would find when she walked away?
Flustered, the girl consulted her map and found no better options. She was frozen, desolate, unmoving. She wondered at what lay beyond that small, dark door. The girl fell to her knees and pondered the possibilities as the minutes ticked away. Maybe death did lie beyond the door, but maybe not. Perhaps it was something utterly surprising. The Builder could be funny that way, she’d seen that often enough as she walked through the house over so many years. Maybe this door, small and ugly as it was, somehow led to abundance. Maybe in some way she did yet not understand, all of her dreams lay answered on the other side. Perhaps it was the house’s most appealing room yet. The time was running short and the moment had come to choose; move through the door on her knees, or leave the house altogether.
To see what was on the other side of the door, she had to move through it. There was no other way, and that was the hardest part.
Several times, she reached for the small door’s handle and then recoiled; she could not make herself move forward. The girl stayed frozen like that for some time, on the precipice of action, when she heard a Voice from the corner. It questioned, “You’re not planning to walk through that door on your own, are you?” and the girl replied, “Yes, of course. I’ve walked through hundreds of doors alone.” “Have you?” the Voice answered back, and the girl had to wonder. The Voice was familiar, she had to admit. Maybe she was not as alone as she thought.
“You’ll need a key, of course,” she heard the Voice say and it startled her. She’d never needed a key before. What on earth lay beyond that particular door that was so fearsome or precious that it needed protection? The very idea of it brought the girl to her knees, which was exactly the posture that was needed to move forward. He extended the key, and it was called hope, and as He held out His hand, the girl held on tight.
As the key turned, the door cracked open, and there was light and sound she’d never experienced in her many years in the house. Everything was about to change. For better or worse, she took a breath, squeezed His hand, and stepped over the threshold.