As a child, I enjoyed being around older and more experienced people and listening to their stories. How enjoyable were those moments! On other occasions, I’d lose track of time “traveling” through the pages of books. Even today, one of my favorite hobbies is collecting thought-provoking stories and meditations. Today I’d like to share one from the collection I have been carefully selecting and building throughout my life.
The ugly door to freedom
“In the Northern Kingdom there was a king who was very controversial because of his acts of judgment. He took prisoners of war to a huge hall. The men were lined up in the center of the room and the king shouted:
“’I will give you a choice. Look at the far right corner.’ As they looked, the prisoners saw soldiers armed with bows and arrows, ready for action. ‘Now,’ continued the king, ‘look at the far left corner.’ They noticed that there was a daunting black door. Human skulls served as decoration around it, and the handle was the bony hand of a corpse. Something horrifying, just to imagine. The king again shouted: ‘Now choose! What do you want: to try your luck with the soldiers on the right or to open the door on the left, and go inside while I lock it? You have free will, choose!’ Every prisoner behaved the same: when it came time to make their decision, they would come near that scary door over 13 feet high, look at the drawings of skulls, blood, skeletons, and other petrifying things and decide: ‘I want to try my luck with the armed soldiers. I prefer to be pierced by arrows than to open that door and be locked behind it.’ Thousands opted for what they could see and were imprisoned or killed by the arrows.
“Finally, the war was over. After some time had passed, one of the soldiers from the ‘arrow squad’ was sweeping the room when the king arrived. The soldier, with a mixture of reverence and awkwardness, asked: ‘Great king, I’ve always been curious. Don’t be angry with my question, but, what’s beyond that door?’ The king replied, ‘Do you remember that I gave prisoners two choices? Well, go and open the door.’ The trembling soldier cautiously turned the handle and felt a ray of sunlight kiss the floor. It opened a little more and more light and a pleasant smell of plants flooded the place. The soldier noticed that the ugly door opened to the woods and a wide road. That’s when the soldier realized: the dark, ugly door was the door to freedom.”
Appearances are often deceiving. The prisoners couldn’t see beyond that terrible door! They had no faith to envision what their eyes could not see.
When you come across “ugly doors”—unemployment, sadness, loneliness, bitterness, etc.—remember that Jesus did not promise that you would not experience difficulties. He promised that He would be with you during every trial, holding your hand so you won’t give up. When you encounter a major obstacle in your path, don’t worry. Over time, it will become small, not because it has decreased, but because you have grown. Grow every day in hope, faith, and love, so that even when your eyes cannot see what lies ahead, you will trust that God has better things in store.