The doors of an elevator must be closed before the elevator will move. Simple enough.
But many elevators, if not most, come equipped with an "eye," a sensor that constantly watches for an obstruction in the door's path. If the eye reads that an object is there, the door will not shut.
Even if the elevator rider insistently pushes the "Close Door" button, if the sensor believes something is in the way, the door won't close. No way, no how. Not gonna happen. The whole button-pushing effort is an exercise in futility.
How many times do we Christians do the same kind of thing? We have a certain plan for moving on (or moving up) to a different level, board the elevator, push the button for the desired floor, and blindly miss the four-foot monolith blocking the closing of the door. Then, even more stupidly, we push the "Close Door" button.
It's hard to know whether to laugh or cry at such a scenario. Maybe, just possibly, God has been trying to get your attention regarding the intended elevator-facilitated move for quite some time now, and couldn't get a word in edgewise.
So, here we are, at the last possible minute. Everything's all set for the big move, the long anticipated change, and the dumb elevator door won't close. No way, no how. That's when we finally notice the obstruction, the un-missable.
What to do from here? Some of the more willful of us (notice the self-inclusionary pronoun), in our less brilliant times, will leave the elevator to get a crowbar, a moving crew, TNT, or whatever to GET THAT THING OUT OF THE WAY...
so we can get the elevator door to shut
so we can push the button
so we can go to the floor that God doesn't want us to go to
(Other creative "end-around runs" might include catching another elevator to the same no-no destination, opening the roof hatch of the elevator and shimmying up a cable, etc. Same results.)
This is the least desirable path out of the "something's in the way" set-up. One might possibly live through the obstruction removal process and get where you think you want to go, but maybe, just maybe, God had a reason for trying to stop you from going there. Just maybe.
The next bunch will just stand in the elevator with the monolithic obstruction and keep pressing the "Close the Door" button. This useless button pushing might be accompanied by rage, or by crying, or by various other drama queen stuff (or "drama king"?). But, mostly, this group is stuck in a time warp, frozen into inactivity, going nowhere. They are not exactly willfully defying God's plan (or His blockage of their own plans), but they aren't accomplishing anything at all. To be honest, I'd have to count myself in this number, as well. I've stood for YEARS with my finger fused to a long since burned out "Close Door" button, all the while praying for God to make the elevator finally go. Elevator Etiquette for Dummies, anyone?
What is an elevator that doesn't go anywhere? It's a small, poorly equipped, inadequately lit room with bad music droning on in the background. And, in our discussion today, there's a big something-or-other partially blocking the doorway. This is not a great place to live, not a great place to be, for even a brief period of time.
Here's what the in-tune-with-what-God-wants-for-my-life upperclassmen would do. They would board the elevator, turn to press the floor button, press the "Close Door" button, and, lo and behold, immediately notice the half-ton granite slab sitting there. After a little shoving (no dice), they'd call out for God's help, realizing that God probably placed it there Himself.
So, eventually, we learn to recognize God's loving hindrance to our plan. Then comes the smartness. All of us are capable of it, honest: step out of the elevator! A prayer along these lines might be appropriate: "God, wow, I almost made this change without even consulting You! Or, worse yet, I KNEW you didn't want this for me, and I forged ahead anyway. I don't know what kind of disaster You saved me from, but I thank You. Was I just about to make a jigsaw-puzzle-with-a-piece-or-two-missing out of my life? Help me see what floor You would like to place me on."
Some other thoughts: maybe it's not that God doesn't want you on that other floor, He would just prefer to take you there via another route, possibly a longer and more difficult route, comparable to using the stairs in the building stairwell. Maybe you were thinking too small--He intended for you to bypass the floor you wanted to go to, and is directing you to the express elevator--whoosh!
Maybe the people on your current floor need your witness too much for you to leave just now, and He wants to use you there precisely one more year, to do His great things through you. That would mean that next year the elevator eye would okay the door to close, and movement toward your goal would occur then.
Now, consider the flip side of all this: when God would like YOU to move to another floor, don't stand in the doorway of the elevator and block things! (You might trip the sensor with heaps of hesitancy, with an iceberg of indecisiveness, with a pet donkey called Defiance...) Others in the elevator, those following His will, need you to get in or get out of the way so the door can close!
God's no meany. If He has placed His hand in the elevator opening, so the door won't close, He has certainly done it for a purpose. If the elevator door seems to be quivering with the desire to close, but can't because of you, make the move INTO His will, not out of it.
Trust Him to select which floor.
April 7, 2004