Why am I suddenly inching towards the man next to me? I feel my body slowly lean left. My head snaps up. Everyone is starting to lean the same way. Right, Erica, the brakes are beginning to be pulled. Before I fully gain enough strength to fight the pressure and force of my body leaning left, I’m whipped back right as the subway screeches to a stop. I sheepishly smile at the woman whose lap I land on, and quickly act like the song I’m listening to on my phone is my favorite jam. I nod my head up and down a bit, occasionally clicking my tongue. Gosh, people are herding onto this train like cattle. I wonder if I look like that when I walk? I switch from nodding my head up and down, and start bobbling it left to right. (Are subways underground? Yes. Is my Pandora app pulled up on my phone? Yes. Am I actually listening to music? 2+2=4 . . .) Everyone else has their headphones in and I begin to wonder what they’re listening to—if they’re even listening to music at all.
Finally, my favorite automated voice come on the speakers.
Please stand clear of the closing doors.
I watch as people sprint from the turnstile to the door that is inching its seal. A man in a suit is a foot away as the door nears the four-inch mark. His hand slides in and . . . boom, the door is opening. The two students behind him are very thankful as they now get to slide in behind him.
Please stand clear of the closing doors.
Every stop the subway makes, this wonderful electronic voice comes over the intercom and kindly tells people to get out of the way— the doors are closing. For people on the train, that’s a relief—we are about to leave. For people off the train, that is the gun at the beginning of the track meet—issuing a full sprint to the doors as you try to stop them before they are sealed shut.
As I watched this man hurl his arm into the door, I thought about how many times I try to stop closing doors. To be honest, I’m not as much of a risk-taker as him—I would be hard-pressed to actually put my hand inside a closing door. However, I daily try to stop other doors from closing. I am hard-pressed to accept a rejection, without working harder and forcing my square peg to fit into a circle slot. I am firm when I have my mind set on something, even if it is something that I merely want or think I deserve.
We are entirely undeserving beings. I am typing this on a computer that was hundreds of dollars, while sipping on a drink–a mere beverage—that cost $3.00. Sure, I studied for a test for a few hours but that doesn’t mean I deserve an A. There’s a hora of entitlement when we live by the previously mentioned 2+2=4. I watch a piece of technology light up next to me as texts come in, but if there is a two-second delay when I open a new internet browser on it, I’m going to be annoyed as I need it to open—and I need it to do that now, please and thank you.
Out of His great love and compassion for me, Jesus has tried to close several doors before in my life. He has tried to, with grace and gentleness, close and remove superfluous opportunity, toxic environments, and deteriorating people. I am not always the most receptive to those changes. It’s easy to want The Lord’s plan when it aligns with what I want. It’s easy to want The Lord’s plan when I feel wanted and loved. It’s not easy to want His plan when it involves fear, rejection, and pain.
However, we serve a God who has conquered fear, who has acceptance than reigns over rejection, and who has a love surpassing all pain.
Jesus is trying to close a door for you right now, and we are all running, panting, and sweating to make it stay open. Let Him close it. I don’t know why He is, I don’t know the reason for it is, but I do know that another train is coming. If we could see the other train, this walk of life wouldn’t be faith.
There are times to fight–to work, to raise hell, to make it happen. However, there are also times of listening–to watch, to accept not knowing, and to trust that He will work it all far greater than we imagine. The King, with grace and mercy, is harnessing us closer to His perfect path and plan for our lives, by closing some doors, and opening infinitely greater ones.