I went to my mailbox and collected the daily mail. There was a gold-embossed envelope there containing no return address or stamp. It had my name and address and one word–“Congratulations!”
I started to throw it out as piece of junk mail, but was curious, so I opened it. Inside was a card that read “Congratulations! You’ve been selected to receive a genuine door to heaven!” Inside there was a card and another envelope. If I wanted the door, I was to check the card and put it in the return mail.
Was this a joke? It must be a scam. But my curiosity got the better of me, so I marked the card and put it in the mailbox. I never expected to hear anything back.
The next day, a truck showed up with two men and a large box. “Where do you want it?” they asked.
“In the dining room, I guess.” The two men set it up. It stood in the corner on a free-standing door frame. There was also an instruction booklet that read “Congratulations! You’ve just received a door to heaven. It will take you directly to God. Use it anytime you wish. When you enter, you will instantly be transported to heaven and into God’s presence. It is free because it has already been purchased for you. Enjoy.”
I examined the door. I walked around it. There was nothing on the other side. The only unusual feature was the strange gold light emanating from the bottom. I touched the doorknob. Nothing unusual there. I opened it ever so slightly. A beautiful, heavenly light came through the crack. I could hear coming from the other side—the music of heaven.
“This is amazing,” I said. “I have to tell someone.” I showed my wife. She was amazed, too. We called our neighbors, and they came over to see the door. My next-door neighbor asked. “Have you been through it?”
“Not yet,” I said. “I’m still getting used to it. I don’t know if I trust it enough to try it.”
I don’t know who called the news media, but the next day there were news trucks on my front lawn and a line of reporters wanting to see the door. They peppered me with questions. Where did you get it? I don’t know. Who sent it? I don’t know. How does it work? I don’t know. Most of all they asked me How do you know it’s real? I opened the door a crack, like I did before, and let them see the heavenly light and hear the music. They all thought it was beautiful, but many were still skeptical.
The day after this, a large group of ordinary people showed up, demanding to see the door. They had seen the news reports and believed it was a miracle of God. These people became a nuisance. I thought about charging them admission since I could have made a lot of money, and besides, it would cover the cost of house maintenance. It was getting expensive. They bowed down before the door. They stuck prayer requests on post-it notes all over the door, but none opened the door, it was just too holy.
The next day, I was visited by a group of theologians from the seminary who wanted to examine the door. They came in with measuring tapes and sound equipment. When they finished, they shook their heads and told me that this could not be a door to heaven. It was only 7 by 3 feet, and their examination of the Holy Scriptures revealed that a door to heaven should be at least 8 by 4 feet. Besides, the hinges were regular brass instead of gold, so it could the door must be fake.
After the theologians published their report, the crowds of worshippers stopped coming.
Shortly after, I read that another man across town claimed to have received a similar door. I was happy to hear it since now there was someone who shared my experience. So I drove over to his address. When I got there, I saw a big sign in his front yard saying “Come see the Door! Only Five Dollars!” I paid the money and went inside. It was an obvious fake, though. There was a widescreen TV in a door frame. You could see the cord running to the wall. I went home to my door disappointed.
The door was useful to me around the house. When I left it ajar, the heavenly light filled the entire house. If I wanted to listen to music, it was better than Alexa. I could even ask questions like Alexa, and get answers in a soft voice through the door. My wife started to appreciate the door. It was always a good conversation piece.
Then one night after we went to bed, we heard a knocking noise. My wife thought it was a burglar. It was a rhythmic tapping, like some patient but persistent visitor, wanting to get in. I put on my robe, got my baseball bat, and went to the front door. No one was there. Then I realized that the knocking had come from the other door—the one in the dining room.
I was terrified. Was this whole thing a sinister plot to get us? What was on the other side of that door– aliens, monsters, flesh-eating zombies? There was no way I was going to open that door–but I couldn’t ignore it, either. The knocking would not stop. I asked. “Who is it?”
“Jesus,” came the answer. “Please open the door. I want to talk.”
“No, who is it really?”
“Jesus—really! Please open the door.”
At last, I spoke, “Okay.”
I opened the door, and a brilliant burst of light flooded the room. In the light, I saw the figure of Jesus, as I always imagined Him to look. He stepped into the room.
In the ordinary light, He didn’t look the same. He was an ordinary-looking man in a robe. He didn’t look holy–just friendly.
“Hi,” He said at last. “I got tired of waiting.”
“Waiting for what?”
“For you to open the door. I sent you this door, so we could meet. You’ve had it for some time, but you’ve never opened it.”
I felt ashamed. We had talked about the door, studied the door, publicized the door, argued over the door, but no one—not even me—had actually tried to go through the door. We never tried.
Jesus knew what I was thinking and finished my thought. “Don’t worry. I knew you were afraid, so I came to you. I’ll take you through the door Myself.”
Then He surprised me, even more, He said, “How about a snack first? I’m famished.”
We got some cold chicken from the refrigerator and a couple of cokes. As we ate, we talked. I said, “Look, I’m sorry I didn’t come through the door. I guess I just wasn’t ready.”
“Ready for what?”
“Well, ready to leave this world. I have so much more I want to do here.”
“Then do it. Who’s stopping you? If you go through that door, you can always come back. The door is always there.”
“But won’t I die?”
He laughed, “Who told you that? The door to heaven is open all the time, even in the midst of life. It never closes. You come and go as you wish. Some of my saints go in and out many times a day.”
“But those are saints. They’re special.”
“Not really. They’re just people like you. Where I come from, all believers are saints. A saint is just someone who spends time with us.”
“Us? Do you mean you and the saints?”
“No, I mean us, like me, the Father and the Spirit. You know—the Trinity? Those who have died, are there, yes—and you see them when you join them. But in heaven, no one is looking at them much. Most people just sit in our feasting hall, joining in the great dance of joy with us.”
“But Jesus, I don’t dance. I’m Presbyterian.”
He smiled. “It’s okay. I’ll teach you.”
We were silent for a moment. Finally, I spoke. “Jesus, you know, I have to confess, that’s not why I didn’t go through the door. The real reason was that I was scared what it would do to me.”
“What were you scared of?”
“That if I went through that door, I would not be myself anymore. I might change.”
“Is that so bad?”
“I like being myself! I see the preachers, and churchy types, and they all look so phony! They don’t seem real to me.”
“A lot of them aren’t. They are wearing masks. They are like you—they’re afraid to come to me, so they pretend they’ve already done it.”
“If I go through the door, will I change?”
“Yes,” He said. “But you will still be you. You will still have your personality—I wouldn’t change it for the world! I like you. I want you to still be you.”
“So, what will change?”
“You will be you, but you will also become more like Me. People who spend time together become like each other. When you spend time in company with the Trinity, you become like Us. That’s the reason for the door—so we can get together. Then when you go back into your life, people will see Us in you.”
I was hesitant, resistant. But He was persistent. In the end, I accepted his invitation and entered the door with Him. And on the other side—what beauty, what wonder!
He introduced me to the Father and the Spirit. They showed me things about the world and about myself that I never would have dreamed in a million years. Then, before dawn, He showed me to the door, and I went back to my house. “Come back, any time,” he said. “The door is always open.”
I still have the door, But I no longer brag about it or argue with others whether or not it is real. I don’t talk about it unless someone asks. The door isn’t nearly as important to me as it used to be. It is what is behind the door that matters. It isn’t the door that is important, it’s my access to the Father.
Revelation 3:20 can be paraphrased “I stand at the door knocking. If anyone opens, I will come in, and we will have lunch.” Jesus says this to a church in Laodicea, Turkey. They heard the Gospel—the Good news—just like you did. The Gospel is a promise of instant communion with God. But they had gotten used to it and became proud and complacent—proud that they alone had been given the door to heaven. But they had stopped going through that door. They kept doing churchy things—holding services, singing songs, witnessing to others, but they hid themselves from God because they were afraid He would change them. In all their activities for God, they forgot to be with God. They had become door-worshippers, not Christ worshippers. So Jesus knocked on the other side and said. “Let me in. Let’s get together.”
God isn’t the door. He isn’t the church, the Bible, or even prayer. He isn’t an institution or a cause. He’s a person who wants you in His home because He loves you. He is knocking at the door of your heart inviting you into His great dance. Love the church; obey the Bible; take time to pray—but realize these are the door, not our destination. Our destination is the presence of God Almighty, who loves you and wants to be with you.