Faith is a series of passageways.
At the beginning of Mark, Jesus calls the disciples to follow. Later on, things for them take a different turn when he tells them and the crowd that they may be required to follow to places they don’t really want to go. (Mark 8:31-38)
They might have felt called to adventure, but this wasn’t what they’d bargained for. Adventure sometimes means just walking through a door when we don’t know what’s on the other side.
Isn’t that exactly what faith is? Walking through doors, down passageways, into the unknown? We almost never know what is on the other side. Sometimes we have the option not to go through the door, but sometimes we don’t. What we can be assured of is that we don’t go through alone. God accompanies all the way through the passageway, not just the near side.
Think about the events, doors and passages of your life: birthday; new school; graduation; marriage; divorce; loss; illness; new job; new friend; new home; retirement.
It’s impossible to remember how many doors you have already passed through, and it’s impossible to imagine how many more await you. Some of them will be easy to walk through—even pleasant or thrilling. Some thresholds may be terrifying to cross because you don’t know what is on the other side, or because what you can see from the near side is nothing but darkness.
When Jesus tells the crowd (the 8th chapter of Mark) that they need to be willing to give up their life in order to gain it, surely this is part of what he means. We must, on occasion, be willing to cross over from what is comfortable and familiar into the unknown, which may appear (and may actually be) dangerous, or at least confusing and frightening.
The good news is: Jesus does not stand on the close side, pushing us through. He encourages us to follow. He’s leading the way, clearing a path, and is there at the far side of the passage just as he is here.
Whether flooded with light, shrouded by shadow, or a mixture of the two, may your passages be easy ones, for God is with you.
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2009