When I was a kid, we played a game called “gatekeeper.” One person guarded the door, and the rest of us scurried off to our assignments, then reported back to the queen-boss, sequestered inside the room.
Then came the frustrating part: We had to relay our update to the gatekeeper, who entered and informed the queen. It was entirely up to the gatekeeper—and his or her skill, or lack thereof—to communicate this correctly. I’d often find myself wanting to break the rules and pass on the message myself.
Later as an adult, my job at one point involved calling department heads and supervisors. To get to them I’d often need to go through an assistant—another kind of gatekeeper. Sometimes the assistant would pass me right through to the big boss, but other times, he or she would stall, screen me to see who I was and why I needed to talk to the boss, and sometimes shut me out completely if I didn’t pass muster.
I think that’s how a lot of people of faith feel about God, sometimes—as if there’s a gate, a wall, a giant barrier between us and our Heavenly Father. Perhaps we were raised to think God is some far-off Lord of the Heavens and Skies, someone to be feared. Perhaps we believe God to be a vengeful, angry, commanding God, constantly on the lookout for sin and evil, ready to strike us down at any moment. Perhaps we imagine God is utterly unconcerned with the billions of people on this planet, content to let us live our lives without interference.
Or—and this is the saddest—perhaps we believe God is a loving God who truly does care, but because of the sins and wrongs we’ve done, we’re too much of a lost cause to hope for redemption.
We set up these invisible gates between us and God. We forget! We forget He already broke down those gates more than 2,000 years ago, when He sent His son, Jesus, to show us the way.
Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6 NIV). Jesus taught us to pray. He taught us to love. He taught us to care for others as we do ourselves. He taught us to put God first. He modeled what a servant-leader looks like—including the ultimate act of service: sacrificing Himself on the cross so every one of us who believes in Him can have eternal life.
Jesus, in paying our sin-debt by dying on the cross, broke the barrier forever, no matter what. He offered Himself as a living sacrifice for you and me, giving us a path to eternal life with our heavenly father, God, when we repent, believe, and follow Him.
That means we, as part of the body of Christ, get a tremendous bonus gift: access to God.
Sometimes, we forget about this. We worry because we don’t see the path and fear the right course. Maybe it’s hard to hear God’s voice. Maybe we worry because we don’t get a concrete answer to our prayer. Maybe we do get an answer, but it’s not the one we want, and we’re angry and scared and desperately alone.
God can handle our anger and our pain. God cares, and His promises and love are woven throughout Scripture.
As people of faith, all we have to do is go to God. There is no wall, no gatekeeper.He’ll lead the way and care for us always.