“Doctor, do you have time to talk today?”
The text flashed across my smartphone. I recognized the sender and immediately responded.
“Certainly! I will text you when I have a few minutes.”
Many years ago, I mentored a young man who was interested in a career in medicine. In addition to the usual preparations, such as taking the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), with his application, he included letters of recommendation from some of his former college professors. This was the problem. It had been four years since he graduated and one of his key professors had a policy that she would not write letters for former students if it had been more than three years since they had graduated. Unfortunately, he liked this professor’s classes so immensely, that he took three classes from her. Thus, he was limited in the number of other professors whom he could ask for a recommendation letter.
“What do you think I should do? The recommendation is to have at least two letters from professors who taught her core science classes. I only have one.”
“Yes, if you ask for a letter from a professor who didn’t really know you, you may receive a very generic letter, one that any reviewer would discern if the professor didn’t really know you. Believe me, I know. I have read many letters like this and it downgrades your application. You could just stick with one good letter but I have a suggestion. Why don’t you call this professor today and ask to meet in person.”
“You need to ask her to make an exception for you, explaining why you took so many classes from her because you valued her teaching. You have to do this in person, don’t email her. Don’t speak to her secretary. She has to see that you were willing to make this extra effort if she would even consider doing the same for you.”
“Okay, let me know what happens.”
Four hours later, I received an enthusiastic text. “I went to see my professor today and she agreed to write me a letter of recommendation! Thank you for your advice!”
I smiled and texted back. “I showed you the door but you still had to walk through it on your own.”
There are many doors that are presented to us in life. Some, like confronting a former professor, may seem intimidating to walk through, even if we hope that it may ultimately lead to great success. Other doors are difficult because we do not have enough information to make the decision; a fear of the unknown. As Christian believers, one of the more difficult doors to walk through is the missionary field. The Apostle Paul understood the risks. When he first entered the city of Ephesus and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a riot ensued and the citizens nearly killed him and his companions. Yet, Paul persevered, and in spite of the dangers, remained in Ephesus for nearly three years.
But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
1 Corinthians 16:8-9 (ESV)
Paul did not fear walking through the door that God showed him. Why do we fear? Satan is determined to discourage us. Don’t go through that door! You will regret it! What should be our response?
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
John 10:9-10 (ESV)
Jesus declared He is the door. He promises to walk through this door with us. He will never forsake or abandon us. In spite of the obstacles that we can see before us, Jesus reassures us that if we follow Him, we will have abundant life.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.