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Do you ever find yourself in that little space within you that you keep locked up, tucked away, so no one can see what’s in there?
Sometimes it’s a longing you haven’t yet named, sometimes it’s something you feel you’ve been asked to do and you don’t want to listen, and sometimes it’s that one thing you did that no one or nothing can forgive.
Perhaps it’s none of those things, or all of those things.
Have you ever found yourself in that place and suddenly, Jesus shows up within the locked doors you thought you had bolted shut?
It happened to the disciples, it can happen to us.
After Jesus had been crucified, the disciples, these men that had spent so much time with Jesus, were found hiding in a locked room, fearing for their lives.
John 20:19-21 gives us this narrative:
That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”
There the disciples were, terrified for their lives, thinking they were safe because they shut and locked that door. Yes, perhaps that wasn’t the greatest way to live their lives, but at least they were alive, right?
Suddenly, Jesus appears. Out of nowhere. He simply came in quietly, and to hold their fears at bay, he told them, “Peace be with you.”
As humans, when we’re told to be calm that usually causes us to get even more worked up, so naturally Jesus showed them his hands and his side to prove to them he really was Jesus, the one they saw die on a cross and be buried in a tomb. He was really there, in the locked room that he hadn’t been in when they came in, and he really was alive, when they had seen him die, and he really is telling them to be calm. Have peace. I am here.
Then he says something else remarkable. He tells them he has something for them to do. He is sending them out, out from the safety of the locked room into the world that was going to try to kill them, into the world that had killed Jesus, yet he still loved it so much that he was sending them out to tell the world about him and his love.
Death couldn’t stop Jesus, so now he was calling these men who were hiding in a locked room to go out as Jesus had gone out because there was more to their lives than hiding in a locked room filled with fear.
I’ve mentioned before how I’ve felt led to write for a long time now. I can’t put my finger on the day or place it started, but Christmas 2018 changed my life. I had just started using CBD and the social anxiety I hadn’t even realized I had was significantly reduced. Over the next couple of weeks, God kept putting little things in my heart and mind about writing.
I read a book that was written like a true story, like a memoir but was actually fiction. I realized I could tell my story however I felt I needed to because it is my story.
I attended a conference and felt like some of the words from the speaker were aimed right at me. I often find the reason why we don’t do things we may feel called to do is because we can’t see the whole picture. We want to know who is going to be there to help us at what points and what we are going to be required to do and what others will do. I had all these thoughts and I was told, “You do the work you are called to do and God will fill in the blanks.”
A couple weeks after that conference, I was online and suddenly an ad popped up on my Facebook for this online community called hope*writers. For a small membership fee, you can get access to writing help no matter what writing stage you are in, share in a community of other writers, talk to real authors you can ask questions to, along with so many other things. I might have passed the ad by had I not recognized the name of one of the co-founders, Emily P. Freeman.
Soon after I went on Operation Barnabas in 2013 I read a book that was called Graceful: Letting Go of Your Try-Hard Life. That book spoke to me, and the author’s name stuck with me. Now, over five years later, here her name was, so close to something I needed to hold on to but wasn’t sure if it was for me. Her names was just what I needed right when I needed it. A few clicks later, I became a member and then thought to tell Andrew about it. Usually I try to talk with him about purchases or decisions like that but at that moment it seemed too sacred to interrupt God’s calling. I felt like it was the right thing for me to do, so I acted on it before I could talk myself out of it and I have not regretted it once.
You see, for me, writing was one of those locked rooms I held a dream in but kept telling myself “Who are you to think you can do that? Who would read what you have to say? You think you can make a difference?”
One day I was in that room, and Jesus decided to come in and tell me “Peace be with you! I am sending you to do this work, not because you can do it on your own, but because all things are possible with me. If you make the difference for one person, would it not all be worth it? Your words will matter if even it is to one single person. I am sending you. I give you my peace.”
And that little room that had been locked and held fear inside suddenly wasn’t locked and fearful, it was a greenhouse of ideas and possibilities and instead of asking “Who am I to do this?” instead it became “Who am I to question your will?”
And there was peace. And there is still peace. And there is a sense of purpose I had lacked before.
When we finally say yes to what it is God is calling us to do, things can change or move quickly. It’s not always easy, sometimes he’s asking us to put our lives on the line, but he promises us peace and tells us we are never alone.
What rooms do you keep locked up in your heart? Have you ever been hiding in there when Jesus comes to talk to you? Have you answered the call, or put up more boards and used more locks and thrown away the key?
What could Jesus be asking you to do that you are missing out on because of fear? It’s not a simple thing to do, to open up the doors, but Jesus can come in even the most tightly locked places and bring you peace if only you will accept it.