Someone I used to work with was fond of preaching that although God does most of the work, we have to do the final bit. “We have a choice, and God doesn’t do it all. If he does ninety-nine percent, we still have to do one percent,” he would say. “You have to leave the door cracked for God to come in.” Meanwhile, in John’s resurrection narrative, we learn that when the disciples were in their Upper Room, “The doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them.”
From my experience, God doesn’t care whether I leave the door of my life ajar. Frankly, my door is usually heavily fortified like a scene from a Looney Tunes cartoon when a character opens a door, and there is another door immediately behind it. The character opens that door and, there is yet another door ad infinitum.
Frankly, I don’t usually want God to come into my life because I know he’s going to run amuck for my own good. I’m like Augustine of Hippo who told God, “Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet.” So why on earth would I invite him in now?
Thankfully though, when my door is locked like the one to the Upper Room, Jesus comes in (somehow!) and stands there uninvited. He’s not a gentleman in this respect. He doesn’t leave a calling card or send me a text message giving me a heads up that he’s on his way over. He just barges right in when I least expect and desire it—when I’m resisting with deadbolts, chain locks, and other safety devices.
When I came to the Christian faith, the odds weren’t in God’s favor. I actively resisted the notion that Christianity was a good idea. I was an atheist. I believed most Christians to be creepy hypocrites, and I didn’t want to be among them. Yet, I irresistibly sought answers in the Bible and the Christian message. It was so counterintuitive, paradoxical, ironic, and humiliating. I read Christian books hoping to find holes in their logic rather than answers to life’s dilemmas.
Yet one day, God made a well-placed tactical shot that entered the backdoor of my heart—like when Luke Skywalker destroyed the Death Star.
I was obsessed with comic books and cartoons at the time, and against my better judgment, I bought a little book called The Gospel According to Peanuts at Barnes & Noble in Bethesda, MD, and went across the street to a Cosi restaurant on Woodmont Avenue. In one sitting over a few cappuccinos and a T.B.M. sandwich, I read the entire book.
That day, God, like a cat burglar, stole my hardened heart and made me a Christian.
I was so embarrassed. I didn’t tell anyone for months. I went from a self-actualized secular humanist to someone recognizing my need for God’s intervention and begging for his mercy. It was painful. My pride had been taken away. I hated that he’d stolen my heart, yet I recognized the need for God to break down my barricades. I’m glad he did because I wouldn’t have left the door cracked for him.
Maybe you resonate with what I’m saying. Maybe you resist God’s work in your life despite your recognition of need for rescue. Maybe there’s something you’re trying to hide from him. Be assured that when the door to your heart is just as locked and secure as that one to the Upper Room, Jesus will come in and stand there anyway.