This post may seem a little strange, but it’s just the way my brain works. When I think, my thoughts tend to evolve in so many different directions. Most of what I think about makes sense to me; I am not sure if it makes sense to others. I haven’t been able to avoid thinking about doors. Mostly due to a couple of posts I have recently written (Pray Without Ceasing; Pray Without Ceasing, I am the Door). Last week I was reminded of an excerpt I read in Nabeel Quereshi’s book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. Nabeel writes about his dream; the dream involves a door and his inability to cross the threshold.
Explaining his dream Nabeel writes, “I am standing at the entrance of a narrow doorway that is built into a wall of brick. I am not in the doorway but just in front of it. The doorway is an arch. I would say the doorway is about seven and a half feet tall, with about six and a half feet of its side being straight up from the ground, and there’s one foot arched part of the top capping it off. the doorway is slightly less than three feet wide and about three or four feet deep, all brick. It leads into a room, where many people are sitting at tables that have fancy and good food on them. I think I remember salads, but I am not sure. They were not eating, but they were all ready to eat, and they were all looking to my left, as if waiting for a speaker before the banquet. One of the people, at the other side of the door just inside the room, is David Wood. (David and Nabeel were friends and they often discussed their faith.) I am unable to walk into the room because David is occupying the other threshold of the doorway. He is sitting at the table and is also looking to my left. I asked him, “I thought we were going to eat together?” And he said, without removing his eyes from the front of the room, “You never responded.”
“When I woke up from the dream, I immediately had an interpretation: the room was heaven, the feast was a feast in the kingdom of heaven, and it was a wedding feat of sorts. In order to get into the room, I had to respond to David’s invitation. If there was one thing I did not get about the dream , it was the door. it was the most dramatic symbol in the dream, but what did it mean? Why was that the most vivid image? And why was it so narrow?”
Nabeel called his friend David to tell him about the dream, David immediately responded, “this dream is so clear it doesn’t need to be interpreted”… Nabeel writes, “he told me to read Luke 13.22” (Seeking Allah Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi, p. 269)
And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. Luke 13.22-29
When I first read Nabeel’s dream I thought to myself. “how cool is that.” I have never had a dream, why do others experience dreams and I do not. My story is not that great. I was exposed to the Bible at an early age, and despite a negative experience with Church I did accept Christ on April 30, 1998. Sometimes I find myself envying other stories, testimonies, or other experiences, similar to the way that I envied Nabeel’s dream experience. Then I was reminded that Nabeel lost his family, they refused to speak to him after he abandoned Islam and embraced Christ. I neglected to think about his agonizing and emotional suffering that he experienced as he weighed his decision to reject Islam and go through the door, his door. God specifically and uniquely provided a door for Nabeel, a door unlike any other.
I have had to learn to go through my own door and to be thankful for my own story. We may look at others and be jealous of what we think they have. And yes, it is absolutely common to be jealous of other Christian’s lives, spirituality, testimonies, and upbringing. If you have lived a life of difficulty you may wonder why others live a life of ease and happiness. God has played a large part in the writing of our story. I do believe that the writing of our story is a joint effort which involves our responsiveness to a sovereign God. In saying that, I do not believe the sovereign cliché, “everything happens for a reason.” I prefer the idea that there is a reason behind everything, “cause and effect.” However, our story evolves as we respond to life, revelation, and the hand of God. I am trusting that God will help me to accept my story exactly the way it is. If I ever again decide to become dissatisfied with any part of my story and envy another, I must face the reality of my ingratitude for God’s provision.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. I Thessalonians 5.18