Last week, I told the story about how my wife and I were pursuing a dream of purchasing a vacation home to enjoy during our twilight years and I told you of how we were sensing that the Lord might be opening “a door of opportunity” unto that end. Of course, I also explained how that door was resoundingly closed when the bank denied our request for financing. It was a story that did not seem to have a happy ending, at the time. But both Lauri Lee and I believe that this story is far from over.
God’s Word says, “Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of Your heart.” [Psalm 37:4] That, of course, also means if we “Delight in the Lord,” first and foremost, the desires of our heart may change over time. And that is OK with us, too. Thy will, not my will, be done…Lord. We trust you.
Life pretty much is a series of doors, with or without God’s guidance. Some are open. Others are closed. And many times, we see doors that appear to be open, suddenly close (as we saw with Casa de Myrtle Beach). And it is not uncommon, as well, to see doors that seem firmly closed, even locked, suddenly open to us. Our part, in all of this, is to make wise choices regarding these doors. Just because a door is open, it does not mean we should proceed through it. I am sure you’ve found some open doors that led to very bad choices. I actually have had a knack for that, at times..LOL. And on the other side of the coin, we all have heard stories of doors that were clearly closed with seemingly little hope of them ever opening to us, suddenly opening after much persistence on our part (and likely…God’s help..of course). Life is made up of endless choices, countless doors. Some wide open. Some firmly shut. Nothing new there.
This week, I would like to tell you a story of another door that has suddenly flung open for me. It is not one that, at this moment, I have decided to enter through or walk away from. Right now, it is an simply an open door, one that looks pretty inviting. But is also not a door without consequences. In fact, I am not sure those doors even exist.
As most of you know, last summer I wrote and self-published my first full length Christian book, “Unlocking Creation.” That was a big decision, a door I thought and prayed a lot about before entering. But once the decision was made, I bolted through it to the best of my abilities, knowing the deck was stacked heavily against me. Most Christian authors, with the exception of those who write novels, are either pastors, professors, TV or radio preachers, or at least someone with a built-in following or audience. Publishers look for that. I had none of the above. I’m just a man who felt led to write down what God had shown him over the years and share it with those who may find it interesting or inspiring, even if that meant it would only be read by a couple hundred folks, mostly friends, family and friends of family.
William Paul Young, author of “The Shack”, originally wrote that beautiful story for his kids. He only printed fifteen copies at OfficeMax, for his family and a few friends, at first. He was not looking down the road much farther than that. It was a small door, but he walked throught it and the rest is history…20 million copies sold and a hit movie now seen by millions. He never dreamt of such a thing, and he has a pretty vivid imagination. Likewise, with the writing of my book, I felt the same way. I frequently said, “My hopes are high, but my expectations are low.” I applied myself to write the best book that I possibly could. What would happen after that…well, that was up to the Lord. Totally.
So here we go, for the past couple of months I have been contemplating my options going forward. The book has only sold a couple of hundred copies, so far, and so now I only have a small amount of money left (from that which I allocated to this project) to promote it further. Promotion is necessary, but very expensive, to say the least. Plus, I have already begun work on a second book which may or may not ever get published, depending on how this one ends up. What would be ideal, at this point, would be for my book to fall into the hands of a traditional publisher like, “The Shack” eventually did. Once a traditional publisher agrees to publish a book, they pay the author an advance (for writing it)…and then royalties on the sales, later.
With self-publishing, as both Paul Young and I did at first, you pay the full cost of publishing, yourself, up front and hope to make it all back once you sell millions of copies (that is not how most self-published books end up…btw). I had no problem with making that investment, even though I had to take it out of our retirement savings. If I wasn’t willing to believe in this book, by putting some of my own “skin in the game,” how could I expect someone else to, right?
This past Tuesday, the phone rings, and the man begins to tell me they are a company that links new authors with traditional publishers and that my book was brought to their attention by their “book scouts” who look for new books by unknown authors that they feel have potential. They offered me the opportunity (an open door) to be a featured author, by their company, at one of the biggest book shows in the world each year, the Frankfurt International Book Fair (in Germany). Last year, over 140,000 publishers, book buyers and booksellers attended this show. These folks would be promoting my book (and any that might follow) to publishers, investors and booksellers from around the world. It is a huge opportortunity (open door), for sure. But, like everything in life, it is not a “free lunch.” There is a cost involved, just as with any type of promotion. So this is not a door I can run through without considerable thought, prayer and counsel.
As a songwriter for many years, I have seen these types of “opportunities” before. Many times, they are “chocolate covered rocks.” They look inviting, but if you bite into one, you may break your teeth off. They don’t always end well. Open doors do not always lead to “gravy trains”, and to be honest I am not really looking for one. I would just like to be able to afford to keep writing, as the Lord leads.
So here’s what I know for sure:
Lauri Lee and I are members of a local church, here in Northeast Ohio, called “Church Of The Open Door.” We obviously prefer open doors over closed ones. But we also know we also must be careful to choose wisely, before entering any door of opportunity.
Jesus said, “I am the door,” [John 10:9] and I believe that nothing good comes our way unless He chooses to provide it for us. It is through Him, that all blessings come.
He also said, “I have put before you an open door which no one can shut.” [Revelation 3:8] So, if it is indeed a door that God is opening, no one can shut it. The Myrtle Beach condo turned out to NOT be one of those at this time…and that is fine.
Then there was this promise, “Ask and it will be given give to you; knock and it shall be opened to you.” [Matthew 7:7] Well, I have certainly been asking for Him to grant opportunities, should He see fit to do so. And this is the type of opportunity I have been praying and hoping for.
But it is it the right one, or just another “chocolate covered rock.” As I write this today, I do not know. Lots to consider. But at least it is an option to consider. I’d rather have one…than not have one. We’ll see. Time will tell.
But if I do decide to walk through that door, it will be a big step of faith like so many we all have to take at one time or another in our lives. They don’t usually hand out all the answers before a test, right?
The same is true of the more eternal questions of this life and the next one. These also require a step of faith…which is “hope in things yet unseen.”
Jesus said this, as well, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him…” [Revelation 3:20] Talk about a major league opportunity, one that requires a choice to be made on our part. Jesus, the Lord and Creator of all things, is standing outside the door of each of our hearts….and He is knocking. He wants to come in and have a relationship with you and I.
What will you do? Are you willing to open that door and ask Him in? He is waiting, but He will not wait there forever. At some point, we do not know when, we all run out of time. GAME OVER. To quote Noah, “This is one boat you cannot afford to miss.”
So, what am I going to do with this book opportunity? I do not know yet. But compared to the ultimate door, the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom all of eternity opens, the book is “small potatoes.”
Let me take a moment, if I may, to wish you and yours a safe, happy and blessed Easter Weekend.
HE IS RISEN……..HE IS RISEN, INDEED!!!