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Thursday, August 01, 2019

No Need to Knock

Why don't we pray? I have a list of reasons / excuses as long as my arm. Maybe you do too. Today, I was struck with an idea to put into a kind of story. I was listening to Stephen Curtis Chapman's song "Let Us Pray," and had a series of images come to mind. I think it was to help me pray. Maybe it will help you as well. 

No Need to Knock

I leave the confines of my room for the long hall with equally great weariness and wariness. I have not traveled this way for too long a time, and I do not know what I will find at the passage’s end. As soon as the flickering torchlight scatters my shadows, I feel an overwhelming urge, like an undertow, grasping with unseen hands to pull me back. I want to go back. A voice of my own thoughts whispers, “This is a path of privilege, the way of valiant souls…and royalty. It is not for me.”


I take small, tentative steps forward. I am reminded of all the times I have come this way and failed. How often had I turned back because it was too late, missing the appointment because I was distracted? How many occasions had I been turned away because I was not properly attired? How frequently had I ascended until I just…couldn’t…take…another…step, awakening later to retreat in shame? The voice is right. This path is not for me.




Especially today. Today, I am a pauper, covered in threadbare rags and drenched in filth and blood. I bear unfathomable guilt like a rotting second skin. I do not belong in this hall, the hall that stretches before me, its end in shadow growing farther—not nearer—with each heavy step. Just make it to the next torch, I tell myself. And then the next. I press on, but the incline grows steeper. My foot loses purchase. I fall and slide backward in the slick of my own grime. 


Weeping, I flail and climb to my unsteady feet. Too hard. Too far. I know I will never make it. Still, the torchlight never wavers. The One I seek keeps them alight. I know I must continue. Continue or die.


I pass one torch. Then another. I am moving more quickly now. How many torches behind me? I don’t look back. At last, the shadow ahead parts like a curtain. I am almost there! The door is before me, looming like the impenetrable gate of a fortified castle. I stand just two paces away. I raise my fist—


“There is no need to knock,” comes the voice of the One. “The door is open.”


Still seemingly heavy beyond reckoning, the impassive door glides inward, and I am bathed in light. I am at once blinded…and seen. I duck my head. I should not have come.


Fingers. Gentle as silk but stronger than iron, the fingers cup my chin and lift my head. I see the One at last, and all fear flees. And suddenly, suddenly, I feel quite absurd. 


“Tell me, my child,” He says, “why did you wait so long?”


The uncanny mirth of my situation gets the best of me, and I laugh. Why indeed did I wait so long? 


And then, I recall. “I’m sorry,” I whisper. “I was afraid.”


And then, it was His turn to laugh, a great braying, thunderous laugh. “You were afraid? Of me? But child, I love you. You are always welcome in my presence.”


“I thought I had waited too long,” I say. “Too late for—”


“Too late for my Grace?” His eyes shine down on me like kindly searchlights. “I am beyond time, my child. My Grace cuts the fabric of time. There is no late.”


“But I have been rebuffed.” The brittle words spill from my mouth like icicles in the sun. “I am clothed in wretchedness.”


“Rebuffed? Not by me. And your garb? You simply were not seeing clearly. Shall I fetch you a mirror?”


Those massive, gentle hands hold out an exquisite looking glass framed in pristine silver. Its pure beauty is no match for the figure I see in the reflection. I am clothed in white and gold…and glory.
I manage to splutter, “How…?”


“My Son,” He replies. “You wear the garments He purchased on your behalf. His very own.” He withdraws the looking glass, but His smile is more radiant than anything I have yet seen.


“Your Son,” I whisper. “He paid an awful price.”


“Yes.”


“For me.”


“Yes.”


“And yet, like the others, there are times that I cannot stay awake…to keep watch?”


“What father would not be warmed by His child’s words trailing off into slumber? What father would not feel the kindling of love by His child’s sleeping in His arms?”


Tears spill over my lids and run down my cheeks. “But so many times I am heavy with guilt of my own transgression. Like today, I have sullied your Son’s garments with the blackest ash of my sin.”


“That is especially why you have come,” He says. “This is my Throne of Grace. When you are besmirched, there is no place else for you to turn, not without incurring terrible costs. And there is no other place but the Throne of Grace where you will actually receive help in your time of need.” 


I am overwhelmed and euphoric. “I…I can come any time? No matter what I’ve done?”


“Any time,” He says. “Day or night. And, child, the long arduous hall you imagine at times? It is simply not there. There is a door to my Throne of Grace, and it is always open. Just come.” 


14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4: 14-16)

11 comments:

Arysta Henry said...

Beautiful! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. I need this reminder often.

Becky Jesse said...

Whew. Thankyou. Needed this. I too have felt stuck in the passageways when the door is right there.

Krista Marie said...

Awesome story! If only we were more aware of who the Father is and how much He loves us! God is so good!

Krista Marie said...

Awesome! If only we were more aware of Who the Father is and how much He loves us! God is so good! :)

Finn said...

Beautiful!

Kristi said...

Thanks so much for such a thoughtful and touching word picture on prayer. I found that very encouraging.

Finn said...

Beautiful!

Caroline Puerto said...

This was so good. I loved how he does not even need to knock. . . the door is already open. I think I get caught so often in trying to knock (and knock right!) that I waste time standing at the entrance to an already open door.

Anonymous said...

I often need a reminder such as this one so this really encouraged me today, thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

I loved reading this! My favorite part was when He said “What father would not be warmed by His child’s words trailing off into slumber? What father would not feel the kindling of love by His child’s sleeping in His arms?” I try to pray every night before bed but sometimes I am so tired that I end up falling asleep first. So I can defiantly identify with that part (if not all of it) of the story.

Josiah said...

Wow this is awesome! I hope you don’t mind Mr. Batson if I read this to my youth group this week. Before worship we always have a ‘moment of truth’. The purpose of the section is to bring up a lie or a falsity that they have been going through and/or what they feel the spirit is leading them to. Then that lie is met with God’s truth on the topic. Our group, named Fusion, is a spirit filled community of young people who just are in love with God. However, from what I’ve seen some find prayer hard, that they aren’t deserving, or they fear they will screw it up, or that they don’t understand God’s love for them quite yet. This is just a beautifully intricate piece that you’ve just put out there for anyone who stumbles upon, and I appreciate you for doing so.
-Little side note in case you read this:
I’m such a huge fan of you, like holy cow, you have no idea. I started reading your books with The Door Within and after going through that trilogy, I’ve gone through dreamtreaders, Berinfell Prophecies, the Dark Sea Annals, and the revised version of it The Myridian Constellation. For each of those series I bought and read them as they came out book by book(besides the door within which my sister had so I read them all at once in like 4th grade). I have since read each series around 10 times each and I always find joy reading one again. Your literature developed my view on what a good book is growing up. The Final Storm remains my favorite book of all time (though closely rivaled by Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls) and The Myridian Constellation has been my favorite series since the original Dark sea Annal version of The Sword In The Stars(can’t wait to see how it pans out! So exciting!). Anyways, I just freaking love you man. Bro to Bro, God has given you a very special gift and I’m always looking forward to see what you do next. (Ps, I agree with your opinion on forks, they are their own created specialty. But the question is, what was created first: the spoon or the fork?)

- possibly your biggest fan that you haven’t met, Sincerely
Josiah Enns

Never Alone!!!