“This is the door to the castle, to your heart. You have the key, you must open it.” He explains, stepping aside to allow me closer to the door. Implicit in His words is the truth that He will not force open the door, it must be by my act alone.
I push at the great door, but it remains shut tight. He says I should be able to open this, but I do not know where to begin.
Seeing my frustrated confusion He suggests, “Clean the door.” And He hands me a cloth.
I begin to clean away the dust. Carvings of vines begin to emerge and a beautiful stained glass light is revealed. But I can find no doorknob and no keyhole. Puzzled, I see too, the hinges for this door are on the inside. There is no way to open the door from the outside! This does not make sense!
I look around and see ‘needle’s eye’ entrance to the left side of the door. A narrow passage is cut into the front wall of the castle, just wide enough for a small person to squeeze through.
“There!” I exclaim excitedly.
“Yes,” He nods, “You must go in and open the door from the inside.” He pauses. “I will not enter through there.” I am disappointed; I had hoped this entrance would have been sufficient for Him. It is clear though that there is no arguing with His way of doing this.
I am uneasy leaving His side, but see no options. I wonder what I will find on the other side of the narrow entrance. What will be inside the castle? Are there monsters lying in wait for me there?
“Do not explore or wander. You will become lost.” He cautions.
Taking His warning to heart, I squeeze through the needles eye. The passage is very small and tight, I can barely force my way through. The rough stones scrape at me, touching me with a cold welcome. It feels like it takes a long time to squeeze through.
When I finally do make it through, I find it is dark inside the castle. My eyes take some time to adjust, so I wait, just outside of the tiny passage. At last I see well enough to take the few steps down the front passage and find the front door.
As it was on the outside, the door is thick with dirt on this side as well. Upon cleaning it, I find the door is locked in place with a huge black metal bolt across the whole door. The bolt is anchored in a heavy metal latch that is bolted to the thick door frame. Clearly, this fortified structure was intended to keep out even the most determined visitors.
Curiously, I feel safe and secure behind this huge door, bolted into place. Even though He is on the other side of the door, I find I do not really want to open it. The sense of safety enfolds and comforts me here. Opening the door is surely a dangerous thing; that must be why the huge bolt is in place. Why do I really want to open it and take a chance on something coming in to hurt me? I just want to stop, rest, think about this whole thing.
Then, I begin to clean the dirt from the window and light, His light, pours through chasing away the shadows and clearing my thoughts. I must open it! I push at the bolt, trying to release it. The bolt does not move.
“How do I open it? What is the key?” I cry.
He begins to knock. The sound is steady and sure, resounding off the walls inside the castle. Each knock reverberates through me, reminding me of His presence. The knocking continues, building urgency within me.
“I’m coming! I’m coming!” I call loudly, becoming terrified that He will leave. “Don’t leave Papa, don’t leave!”
He continues to knock. Even as the sound reminds me that He is on the other side, it frightens me too. I am cold with the thought that it might stop and He will leave because the door did not open to Him. I must find the way to open this door! Desperation begins to set in.
I struggle to find the key to this lock. Then I remember, He taught me to subdue my flesh to see and hear more clearly. So I do what He taught me and slowly I begin to see.
I see myself as a very little girl, in my grandmother’s arms. My father comes up and angrily takes me from her. I see that he is angry, and although I know now what daddy’s anger was from, my perceptions then were very different. I see how the little girl feared daddy was angry because she was holding onto someone else.
“Daddy will be angry if I hold on to anyone else. Don’t let anyone else in!” I hear myself give voice to the vows of my heart. As I hear these long forgotten reactions, I begin to violently sob. "Don't let anyone in! Don't let anyone it!" I cry sinking to the floor, curling in on myself. "No one can come in!" The bitterness of this vow envelops me like a cold wind, biting at me trying to draw me away from the bolted door.
This it what holds the bolt in place! This is what locks the door and holds everyone else out. “I repent Papa! I repent of this vow! I invite you in now, please, come in. Forgive me! Forgive me for this vow that has kept You and anyone else out. Heal me and changes these structures. Please come in! I open my heart to You!”
A fresh flood of tears comes as I hear the steady knock of His hand. He has not left! He is still knocking! The sound gives me new strength.
Struggling, I rise to my feet, clutching at the door frame for support. I push once again against the stalwart lock and the bolt moves! It slides grudgingly, just enough for the door to open, but it is enough. I pull desperately at the heavy door, fighting to open it. The door is solid, thick wood, much heavier than I thought it would be. I am not sure if I can move this alone. What if I cannot get it open enough? What if what I am able to do is not enough? Finally the door gives way to my efforts, opening just a crack.
But it is enough. He rushes in, more quickly than I could have thought, pushing the door the rest of the way open, and sweeps me into His arms. Suddenly I am comforted by the incredible safety of His presence. He has not left! He is here with me now. He waited for me, did not abandon me. He is here!
For a long time, I sob in His arms. I cry in relief that He is here, inside this place with me. I sob at the pain of the vow I had made keeping Him out. I cry at the pain of my own sin that has kept me so alone.
As I calm a little, I am struck with the way He rushed in to me, to comfort me the moment the door opened. It is as though He was waiting anxiously on the other side, waiting for the moment the door came open, desperately wanting to come in. He is not a reluctant guest. I can see how much He truly wants to be here with me. I am amazed, but without words to speak.
He lifts me in His arms and takes a few steps. I can see there is a large, comfortable chair just beside the door. He sits down and draws me into His lap. We sit there, together, for a long time, my head resting on His shoulder.
“Thank you for coming here.” I finally whisper finding words to voice my overwhelming emotions. “Thank you for becoming Papa in this place as well.”
In reply, He kisses the top of my head. I do not remember ever feeling so securely loved by Him as I do in this moment. I close my eyes, relishing this moment in His arms.