On our summer vacation last month, my family and I visited Door County, WI. It’s a large and beautiful peninsula jutting out into the great inland sea called Lake Michigan (our world’s 4th largest lake by volume and 5th largest by surface area). And I learned that the name “Door” for Door County comes from the name “Death’s Door,” and it refers to the treacherous currents and sudden rough seas that are common in the large channel of water connecting the great Green Bay with the rest of Lake Michigan. In fact, there are lots of old shipwrecks in and around Death’s Door that scuba divers will often visit.
As we took the tourist ferryboat ride from the harbor of Gills Rock to Washington Island, I was amazed that such a beautiful waterway was capable of suddenly becoming so dangerous to maritime traffic that it has earned the name Death’s Door. But I also started thinking about how such periodic natural chaos is a part of God’s ongoing creative process of life and the evolution of all things.
Everything is always in transition, and the periods of rapid transition (what we might call “chaos”) actually serve God’s creative and redeeming purposes. Volcanoes erupt periodically, and hurricanes, droughts, fires and earthquakes happen. However, these things are not signs of God’s wrath. They are just a part of God’s ongoing process of creation and re-creation.
Yes, there is no wrath or enmity in the destructive and chaotic aspects of God’s creative and redeeming activity. It is simply God being God. It is simply God being the Creative Being that God is. God is infinitely creative and God loves the beautiful diversity of this ongoing creation.
Like glass in the hand of the glass smith (or glass blower), God creates us and all things, but God also shatters us, melts us down, and recreates us — all according to God’s pleasure and will. And God loves each new form as an extension of God’s own Eternal Self (or Universal Soul) until such a time as we return to the Lord our God in the bliss of eternal communion together.
We are here for a time, we are here for a reason, and then we return to God. Or, as the fictional character Hugo says in Hugo the movie:
“I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason.”
The simple truth is that God creates, establishes, dissolves, destroys, renews and re-creates all that is, both seen and unseen. God is the Creator, the Sustainer, the Destroyer, and the Re-Creator/Redeemer. God is both death’s door and life’s door.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:9)
In life, and in death, and in life beyond death, God is the constant One Eternal Truth. And this gives us such a great inner peace, hope, and joy, because we are all in the ever-faithful hands of our wonderful, changeless Lord God. In sickness or in health, in pleasure or in pain, in plenty or in scarcity, in life or in death, in this world or the next world, we are all God’s beloved creatures in the ultimate care of God’s supreme, never-ending grace.
By God’s grace “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28a). By God’s grace we belong to God and are never truly alone. And by God’s grace we follow the path of God’s will for each of us until we arrive at our ultimate holy communion. Praise God!
God is always knocking at the doorway of our hearts. In fact, he IS the Universal Doorway! God is both death’s door and life’s door, and he is the true doorway to inner peace and everlasting light and life.
Listen! The Lord is knocking at the door. Let us hear him call us to open the door and receive his grace to live by faith! And let us feast every single day on God’s Holy Spirit within us and be strengthened for joyful lives of charitable service to all…
Wonderful God, we pray that you would guide us to listen for you and empower us to open our hearts to you every single day of our lives. In this beautifully diverse world that you continue to make to reflect your infinite glory, make us to see you more clearly, love you more dearly, and walk with you more nearly through lives of compassion and service to all. In Jesus’ name we pray to you, O God. Amen.