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The Gate

I had a dream last night, of a paradise. A mountaintop like I’ve seen a hundred times in the Bighorn mountains back home in Wyoming, just before a place called Bald Mountain, where a natural spring comes out of the side of the hill on the road. It was lush and green, breathtakingly crisp, like just after the wildflowers bloom on the top of the rolling hills there. The color was so vibrant I could almost smell it, rich with greens and blues. On the rolling hill in front of me and winding through the foothills of this great mountain was a mass of people, traveling this road. Not in single file, but walking as a people migrating to a destination.

There was a palpable anticipation in the air, in the people. Just beyond the mountain a beautiful light was shining, like the sunset just before dusk. I was standing there, on a ridge looking down upon this scene, and I was overcome with this deep sorrow, heartache. I was crying.

Someone next to me was confused at my stature and asked, “What’s wrong? Why are you crying?” I said, “Because just beyond there is a gate, and only a few will enter.” Thousands upon thousands, as far as the eye could see. Men, women, children. All ages, all races, and yet only a few, a handful, would be received.

I woke up and was bothered, wondering about the dream and what it meant. The rest of the family woke up and came to the table, and Kari asked me if we could have a family devotion. We read from Matthew 7, about asking, seeking, knocking. We talked about how all of those words require a motivation on our part, an action. You don’t get answers if you don’t ask, you don’t find if you aren’t seeking (ever play Hide-n-Seek and the person looking for you just gives up and goes off to play….at first you’re thinking you’re an expert Hider, then you’re hot, then you’re sweaty, then you’re exhausted, and you come out of your hiding place to see the person totally immersed in some other game….), and if you ever go over to someones house, but just stand outside without knocking, the door won’t open. We illustrated what knocking on a door really means. I went outside the front door and began knocking loudly. The dogs snapped to attention, barking on high alert, jumping around the door to see who was on the other side. Knocking….yields results.

After everyone got up to start their day I read a little further, and came to this verse, and the dream fell into place: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Mat 7:13-14)

It’s not hard at all to coast through life and miss the point. Get up, go to work, have some lunch, come home, kick off the shoes, order in some pizza, watch a show, ask the kids about the day, go to bed, breathe in breathe out, sleep, wake up, get up, go to work…..

Barnes writes about the path to heaven this way: ‘It is not “the great highway” that people tread. Few go there. Here and there one may be seen – traveling in solitude and singularity. The way to death, on the other hand, is broad. Multitudes are in it. It is the great highway in which people go. They fall into it easily and without effort, and go without thought. If they wish to leave that and go by a narrow gate to the city, it would require effort and thought.’

Do you not know? Ask. Have you not found? Seek. Are you standing in front of a door, closed to you? Knock.

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