MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

April 21, 2014

Jesus never closes the door to heaven

By Barrett Vanlandingham
Fort Faith

— In the just released movie “Heaven Is For Real” there is a scene where the dad tucks his children into bed and then on the way out he starts to close the door until the kids yell, “Dad, leave the door open!”  

That is not a major scene or anything, but I immediately began to think about my childhood, and how I always wanted the door left open a few inches and the light left on in the hallway bathroom. For me, it was just a feeling of security knowing the door was open and that my parents could hear me yell if I needed something. I didn’t realize they could have heard me anyway since we lived on a quiet farm near Tahlequah, way out in the middle of nowhere, and a yelling child could have been heard 50 yards down our gravel road even if my door was shut.

I think that’s kind of how God is for us, only even better. It’s kind of like those hotel rooms that have the connecting wall doors I used to always be fascinated with when I was a kid. It was always a thrill to open the door on our side of the wall just to see if the people in the other room had theirs open, too. Thank goodness, the other door was always closed. But that’s not how God operates. His door is always open, whether ours is or not. He can always hear us even though He may choose to not pay attention to our needs if we have intentionally closed Him off.  

In the story of the man born blind (John 9), Jesus approached him, put mud on the man’s eyes, and sent him to wash in the pool of Siloam. To me, this shows Jesus’ door was open to the man, so to speak, but if the man had chosen to be closed off to the healing Jesus was offering or maybe refused to wash in the pool, then he may not have received his sight. John quotes the man as saying, “We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the Godly man who does his will (John 9:31).”  This echoes thoughts from Isaiah in the Old Testament, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear (Isaiah 59:2).”

God allows us to experience the natural consequences that come with choosing the world’s way over His way.

But that does not mean God cannot hear us when we truly repent and call on His name. In Isaiah 55:7 the prophet says that our merciful God will pardon the wicked when they turn to Him. You see, Jesus’ door not only stays open for everyone (Romans 10:13), but the Bible says that Jesus IS the door (John10:9).” All we need to do is remain open for Him to be in our lives. Have a great week!

Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or barrett@ftgcc.org.