Standing at the door

By Blogger Daryl Geffken

Daryl Geffken

There’s this thing that happened to me right after I came to understand Jesus’ reality in my life.  I had gone on a very long journey in an attempt to understand God.  It took me to many different places and helped me to appreciate different forms of belief, and culminated in a powerful moment with some friends.  And it continued in a way that I never would have dreamt…

As I was getting in the back of the car, my buddies were thrilled, because I’m a “Christian” now.  They’re talking to me about things that are kind of weird, and how I should be excited.  But truthfully, I wasn’t.  I wasn’t jumping up and down…

I think it was like when my wife and I had our first son.  I wasn’t jumping up and down then either: I was looking at my son and pondering the moment and what it would mean and how it all would unfold.  It wasn’t love at first sight.  It was more of a “love for life” and this was just the first moment.

So, as I was getting into the back seat, I was just thinking.  And very clearly, God said, “Don’t ever forget what it was like on the other side of meeting me.”

“Don’t make it confusing.  Don’t forget what you experienced.  Don’t make people feel like they’re excluded; like they’re on the outside.”

That’s the core of me.  That’s been God’s call.

The next crazy step in that occurs about 11 years later, while I’m in seminary.  There’s this guy teaching my church growth class… a person I deeply respect.  On the last night of class he said, “Here’s a poem that someone wrote that described why I do what I do…”

And he read it…

Finally, I found it.  A way of articulating what God had called me to do.  And I wasn’t alone!  At least two other people in the world heard the same thing I had:

“I Stand At The Door”, by Sam Shoemaker

I stand by the door.
I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out,
The door is the most important door in the world-
It is the door through which people walk when they find God.
There’s no use my going way inside, and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.

I stand by the door.
I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out,
The door is the most important door in the world-
It is the door through which people walk when they find God.
There’s no use my going way inside, and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.

The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for people to find that door–the door to God.
The most important thing any person can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands,
And put it on the latch–the latch that only clicks
And opens to the person’s own touch.

People die outside that door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter—
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live, on the other side of it–live because they have not found it.

Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him …
So I stand by the door.

Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics–
It is a vast roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.

Some must inhabit those inner rooms.
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in,
Sometimes venture in a little farther;
But my place seems closer to the opening …
So I stand by the door.

There is another reason why I stand there.
Some people get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them
For God is so very great, and asks all of us.
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia,
And want to get out. “Let me out!” they cry,
And the people way inside only terrify, them more.

Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled
For the old life, they have seen too much:
Once taste God, and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell them how much better it is inside.

The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving–preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door,
But would like to run away. So for them, too,
I stand by the door.

I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not, yet even found the door,
Or the people who want to run away again from God,
You can go in too deeply, and stay in too long,
And forget the people outside the door.

As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him, and know He is there,
But not so far from people as not to hear them,
And remember they are there, too.
Where? Outside the door–
Thousands of them, millions of them.
But–more important for me–
One of them, two of them, ten of them,
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.

So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.
“I had rather be a door-keeper…”
So I stand by the door.

Jesus had a heart for the people who were outcasts in society.  For example:

First, there’s a woman with four failed marriages, living with a fifth guy now.  She’s so embarrassed that she didn’t go out with other people to get water.  Jesus offers her hope, first by talking with her (giving her attention) and then showing her that God knows her and loves her and wants a relationship with her (John 4:1-42).

Then there’s Zacchaeus, a man cheating his own people; getting rich by extorting them.  The popular people at the time hated him.  And they hated that Jesus went over to his house and shared lunch (Luke 19:1-10).

There’s also a blind man that called out for Jesus to heal him.  Jesus’ followers refuted the man and tried to deny him access.  Jesus rebuked his disciples and called the man over (Luke 18:35-43).  You know what Jesus said?  “I’ve come to seek and save the lost.”

In my conversations with people, I am reminded that many of us feel lost at times. We wrestle with who we are, we aren’t sure of what we’re meant to do, and we don’t know what is going to happen. We don’t “see” God in the unfairness of life, or don’t “hear” his voice or see him helping those who need it…

Caring can hurt.

Is it worth it?  YES

Because I realize that the world is not revolving around me, and it gives me freedom to stop worrying about my problems and allow me to look at someone else other than myself.

I believe that when I step outside of myself, when I stop focusing on me… the joy that comes into my life, and the way the entire world opens up in front of me is astounding. I wish that for all people… That’s why I do what I do, and that’s why the name of my Religion News Spokane blog shall be called “Standing At The Door.”

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2 responses to “Standing at the door

  1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem with us

  2. Thank you and glory to God for sharing this.

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