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I Stand…By the Door

by Glen Hallead - December 20, 2022

Sam Shoemaker was part of a widely popular 1930’s movement called the Oxford Group. Sam, and two other men, Bob Smith, and Bill Wilson were all part of the same Oxford Group Bible study. Having experienced both freedom from addictions and a new perspective on the power that faith in Christ Jesus brings, the three of these men started a group we know today as Alcoholics Anonymous.

But Sam was also known for a poem entitled “I Stand by the Door” that has shaped the title of this small effort to tell my story.

In the poem Sam describes how he would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord than most anything else. The poem goes on to describe those who grow so deeply in their faith that they seem to forget where they’ve come from. They forget those they’ve left behind. He suggests that as they go deeper into this great room of faith, they may even frighten newer believers, or those who haven’t yet even “put their hand to the latch of that door”…and so he stands by the door.

He stands by the door for those who have recently entered in but are fearful and want to leave, in order to remind then of just how hard the old life was and of the promises that await them in that room, if they will only stay…

He also stands by the door for those who are still outside blindly feeling their way along the wall, looking for an opening. He longs to guide their hand to the latch that only opens to their touch…because there is no greater joy and honor than helping someone find that door and walk through it.

In the Bible we are reminded that Jesus stands at the door of our lives, knocking…and that if we will open the door, that he will enter our lives. But He only enters through a door opened willingly.

Isn’t it time you opened that door to him. Isn’t it time you found the latch to the doorway which leads to eternal joy and happiness. It won’t be easy, nothing good ever is. The world will attempt to give you seemingly good reasons, not to answer.

Or perhaps you already walked through that door but the world is beckoning to you to leave…Please don’t.

For 41 years I have enjoyed this walk of faith. I have gone deeply in and enjoyed the depth of miracles and great joy and well as some of the great struggles, some of which I plan to share with you in the future. And so, for now, it seems my place is “By the Door.”

I hope you’ll think about this, pray about this. I’d be happy to talk more about this with you. You can contact me through glen@bythedoor.org.

I Stand By The Door, by Sam Shoemaker

I stand by the door.
I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out,
The door is the most important door in the world—
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There’s no use my going way inside and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where a door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men,
With outstretched, groping hands.
Feeling for the door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it …
So I stand by the door.
The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for men to find that door—the door to God.
The most important thing any man can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands,
And put it on the latch—the latch that only clicks
And opens to the man’s own touch.
Men die outside that door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter—
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live, on the other side of it—live because they
have not found it,
Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find him …
So I stand by the door.
Go in, great saints, go all the way in—
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics—
It is a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms,
And know the depth and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in,
Sometimes I venture in a little farther;

But my place seems closer to the opening …
So I stand by the door.
There is another reason why I stand there.
Some people get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of his house devour them;
For God is so very great and asks all of us.
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia,
And want to get out, “Let me out!” they cry.
And the people way inside only terrify them more.
Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they
Are spoiled for the old life, they have seen too much;
Once taste God, and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell them how much better it is inside.
The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving—preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door,
But would like to run away. So for them, too,
I stand by the door.
I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet even found the door,
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply, and stay in too long,
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear him, and know he is there,
But not so far from men as not to hear them,
And remember they are there, too.
Where? Outside the door—
Thousands of them, millions of them.
But—more important for me—
One of them, two of them, ten of them,
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.
“I had rather be a door-keeper…”
So I stand by the door.

Credits:

Idea/Concept: 1
Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: Glen Hallead

Produced by Vogt Media

 
 
 
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