A couple weeks ago we ran into an access problem at a home. There was a room on the top floor of a house that was locked. We could tell there were windows in the room because we had seen them from the outside, and you could even see the light from them coming through the door frame. You might think this problem could easily been solved by getting the owner to open it for us, or perhaps the owner simply didn't want the windows cleaned. But the owner couldn't solve our access problem in this case, because there was no way to unlock the door from the outside! There was no keyhole or any recognizable mechanism that could open the door from the outside. There weren't even any hinges accessible. Basically, unless someone inside the room decided to let us in, we were not gaining access to that room. Unfortunately, we knocked, and no one answered.
Being a youth minister for a while you hear a lot of stories and illustrations that are focussed around helping people grant God access to their hearts. At face value that kind of problem doesn't seem to be a real problem, since obviously God can get access to whatever he wants to access, right? I mean, who could stop Him? No one could shut him out if he was pleased to enter.
However, as we learn from scripture and in particular the life of Jesus, God's grand plan doesn't really involve busting down the doors to our lives. He wants our permission, our invitation for Him to take part in our lives. He respects and protects our personage, our freedom and will which he created. He ASKS us to let him in:
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:20
I have seen illustrations like the one above describing this promise of Jesus in The Revelation - a door with no handle on the outside, sometimes with Jesus knocking and waiting patiently on the outside. The door I ran into at this home reminded me of this truth about how God relates to us. An essential part of any relationship is willing involvement. Relationships, at least healthy ones, can't be one way. God made us with the ability to respond to him, to draw near...or to ignore him. He calls to us and reveals himself to us along the way of our lives, but he waits for us to open the door. This is true in the general sense of us responding to his call and seeking relationship with him, and it's also true once we know him and are growing in faith.
It seems from time to time in our lives there are other doors in our lives that we keep closed, areas of our lives that we do not allow God access, that we do not take to him or over which we refuse to allow him to take control. Because of this, we let these areas get in more and more disarray and this adds stress and chaos to our lives...robs us of peace. Without doubt, choosing to take these areas fully to God, and through his counsel perhaps to other people of faith that can help us, can be a very anxious decision. But on the flip side, how silly would it be to endure anxiety and a lack of peace for large periods of our life, only to find out in heaven what God had in store for us if we had just given him access. He will let us carry unneccesary burdens if we insist on doing so, but wouldn't it be easier just to open the door, and trust his great love for us?