There was a man in a lying unconscious in an old small shed. He came to himself and realized where he was, but he had no idea how he got there with a weird feeling he has been there before. Immediately he saw a door and tried to open it. But there was a problem. The door was locked. He was stuck. But he wanted out.
Then he turned it up a notch. He tried harder to open the door. He pushed it and tried to kick it open. In desperation he pounded on the door hoping to bust it open. But it was no use. He was not strong enough.
He took a moment to look around the empty room and saw keys hanging on one of the walls. He had a momentary feeling of relief as he assumed one of these keys obviously would open the door. He didn’t know which one it was, so he picked up the first one up he saw and tried to open the door.
It didn’t work and he realized that the key didn’t fit this door. If fact it didn’t fit any door. It was blank. He went back to the wall and noticed all of the keys were blank. They didn’t have any groves. That means they had no power to open any doors.
But he was determined. He took another blank key and tried to make it fit. He shoved it in the hole. He slammed it, violently trying to make it fit. He was frustrated and angry.
He looked around the shed again and saw a hammer. It wasn’t there before, it was strange, almost like someone was there with him and wanted him to have it. He grabbed it and started banging the blank key into the doorknob, over and over again, until finally the key broke off into the door. He threw down the hammer.
Now he was tired, frustrated, confused, and even worse— no matter how well he made it look that he made the key fit, the door still wouldn’t open.
But let’s step away from this story for a second, because although this might seem like a random meaningless story, I see people every day, and I have been there myself, trapped in the same dead-end life. You go day-to-day living in an exhausting routine that is leading you nowhere. You get up, get ready, go to work, come home eat dinner, go to bed, then wake up and do the same thing over and over again. We feel trap and tired. Living like there’s something missing, a hole that needs filled, something we are supposed to be doing with our lives.
We try to open the door into greater happiness, joy, purpose, and fulfillment but no matter how hard you try the door won’t open.
But then you get creative. You even try to open the door with a few keys of your own. You try drugs, alcohol, pornography, relationships, sex, popularity, getting lost in your work. In the end these are all blank keys: they don’t unlock any doors and they can’t set you free. But even though deep down you know this, you try to make them fit anyways. You try to slam them into your heart, hoping if we hit them hard enough you will be able to make them fit. But when we do this, we just end up breaking things: no holes are filled, no doors are open—we are still trapped.
Let’s step back into the story now. The man decided to stop trying to force the keys to work. But he wasn’t done. He knew that he wouldn’t be in this room faced with a door indicating that there was a world outside if he wasn’t supposed to open it. He knew that even though he didn’t have the answer, someone had too. The problem was that he was alone.
That may have been the strangest part. He never felt like he was completely alone. Sure, he felt lonely stuck in this room in his frustration, but deep down inside of him he had a feeling that someone knew he was there, like someone was watching him or waiting for him on the other side.
So he did something he hadn’t thought of before. Instead of attempting to try these keys and use his own methods to get out of the room, he just knocked. He fell to his knees, cried, yelled, and screamed… and then someone answered, and the man was free.
But the story is not over, because there’s still you and me. We must realize we were not put here for nothing. Although at times we may feel trapped, we would not be standing here face to face with this challenge called life with an indication of something greater, something we are waiting for, or something more if we weren’t meant for something different than a dead-end, empty and meaningless life.
Even though at times we may feel hopeless and alone in an empty room, deep down we all seem to live as if there’s something bigger, someone waiting, someone watching, someone coming.
If you have ever felt this way, you are not alone. There was a time in my life when I was in high school, where I wasn’t living like I should have been. I had friends I shouldn’t have had, relationships I shouldn’t have been in, said things I shouldn’t have, said hurt the people I was closest to. I felt lost and trapped. But when I look back, I realize I was just trying to get out of that empty room. I was looking for something more and trying to open that door with blank keys.
And then I did something I never thought about. I realized my way wasn’t working, I was simply hurting others and myself. I let go of all the blank keys; I fell to my knees in tears and knocked. And the door opened.
In Matthew 7:7, Jesus says, “knock and the door shall be opened for you.” Jesus answers the door and invites us to a life that is challenging, but is filled with joy, fulfillment, and purpose.
We were created in the image of God (Gen 1:26), but because of our sin we denied the very core of who are by rejecting God. But that part of us can never be erased, that part of us that longs to be with God. See, life was never about you. Life was never about me. Life was really never just about God. Life is about you and God together.
That is the truth that can set you free (John 8:32) from the empty dead-end life we try to live without God. Jesus came to this earth to show us we can live a better more purposeful life (John 10:10) and that started with his sacrifice for our sin on the cross (John 3:16) reunite us with himself.
Are you ready for life? Real life? The life you were meant to live? The life designed to prepare you for eternal life with the God you are designed to be with?
Let go of the blank keys. Stop trying to open a door you were never meant to open. Try knocking instead.
*Story adapted from a video made by Jeremy Hall of the Millview church of Christ. It was a video that inspired the “high school Noah” to stop living the dead-end meaningless life and turn his life over to Christ in true discipleship.