After spending way too much time smoothing my naturally curly hair to silky straight, carefully blending three different eye shadows, and trying on four different sun dresses, I was finally ready for our dinner out. It had been a long, hectic week. Dinner at a lively restaurant with great friends and fabulous food was exactly what my husband and I needed.
Before meeting our friends for dinner, we decided to stop by Abbey’s house to note ideas for our new porch. Abbey’s house features the porch of all porches, my favorite porch ever. So naturally, I want my porch to look like Abbey’s porch. But that’s not what this is about. It’s about what happened when we got to Abbey’s porch.
Abbey was not home, but we’re close friends, the kind of friends that have the entry code to the front door of her house. However, there was no need to go through the front door and get the dogs riled, so we walked around the house and climbed the steps to the back porch. It wasn’t two minutes before the bottom fell out of the sky. Torrential rain, house shaking thunder, angry lightning bolts, and winds so strong I had to hold on to my husband’s arm to not blow over.
While Abbey’s porch is covered, it was no match for this violent storm. We were soaked within minutes. Not only were our plans for the evening ruined, but I was truly frightened as this was quickly becoming vicious, hurricane type weather and we were trapped outside. With mascara running down my cheeks, my silky straight hair now matted and dripping wet, and my body shaking with fear, I did what any red-blooded, southern raised girl would do. I started crying.
Always my protective hero, my husband offered to run around the house to the front door, use the entry code, and let me into the house from the back porch door until the storm passed. I’ve never in my life wanted to get inside a house so badly, but I was too frightened for him to leave, worried he would be struck by lightning, so I clung to his arm and begged him not to go.
The thunder was so loud I literally screamed and covered my ears every time it ripped through the sky and kaBOOMED. I had to get in the house. The doggie door. I’m small enough to get through the doggie door. If I can just get one of the dogs to come out, I can get a collar, trigger the door open, climb through, and let us into the house. The benefits of being little. Getting down on my hands and knees, I began to call “Lola, Gus, Frankie! Y’all come get a treat!” Frankie is the new one. He won’t come because he doesn’t know me well enough. Gus is so tiny and skittish, no more than a two pounder, he’s probably shaking and hiding underneath a bed. But Lola, Lola is the caring, kind, old soul. She’ll have compassion and come to our rescue.
Sure enough, the doggie door opens and Lola’s sweet face is looking into mine. A sigh of relief escapes my lips, but wait, Lola glances past me and sees the storm. Her eyes widen. The doggie door closes. Noooooo. Lola has abandoned me and left us to fend for ourselves.
After we got home, I took a warm bath, put on my pajamas, and climbed into bed. Still sniffling and pouting that our night out with friends was foiled, I grabbed my phone and texted Abbey to tell her what happened, and invoke a little sympathy. Abbey texted back, “Why didn’t y’all just go in the back door? It was unlocked!”
You’ve got to be kidding me.
All that time spent frightened on the porch, battling the wind and rain, cowering in the thunder (just me), crying (again, just me), and trying to coerce the dogs out of the doggie door (still me), and all we had to do was open the back door and enter the sanctuary of Abbey’s house.
Sometimes, we make things far more complicated than they really are. We work in vain for our salvation when we are told, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). We toil and strive to win God’s approval through our own righteous acts when we are told no one except Jesus is truly righteous, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10) and “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). We try to earn our way into heaven when we are told no one enters heaven except through Christ, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6).
We may call on the Father to save us, approve us, and allow us into heaven, but if we are banking on anything other than Jesus, it will be in vain. The gates of heaven will not be opened to anyone seeking entrance without the key—Jesus. Why get down on our hands and knees and plead through a doggie door? The grand door to the kingdom is already unlocked.