In writing, the doorway of no return is the situation that pushes our hero into a new normal. In the story’s opening, a glimpse of the hero’s life as he knows it is depicted until something rocks his world. The hero is thrust, whether willingly or unwillingly, into a new normal. Even if he wanted to return to his old life, it’s now out of his reach. He’s left with no other choice but to press forward.
When Alexander the Great reached the shores of Persia in 334 BC, he ordered his men to burn the ships, stating they would “either return home in Persian ships or we will die here.” (Kanigan, Manner of speaking.org, Burning the Ships and Sailing Away, Jan 2015) Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortez took the lead from Alexander, and when landing in what is now modern-day Mexico, he scuttled his ships to force his men inland, slamming closed the door of retreat.
The doorway of no return happened for Rahab in the Bible when she hid two Israelite spies. The King of Jericho demanded the men be brought out. Rahab could have given them up and gone on with her life. Instead, she hid them among the flax piles on her roof and told the soldiers that the Israeli men had already come and gone.
Rahab burned her ships.
A prostitute held little value to the King of Jericho and treason was a serious crime. The moment she chose to aid two strangers, failure no longer was an option. What put Rahab in the faith hall of fame was her trust in the God of the Israelites—a God she had only heard stories of but went all in to serve and trust (Joshua 2).
Since Covid, many of us have been waiting for life to go back to normal, but we’ve passed through a doorway of no return. While it’s admirable to learn from history (Jesus often referenced those that came before and God’s prior works), it’s detrimental to remain stuck in the past. The time has come to decide whether we’re going to cling to the shipwreck that was 2020, be buried under the crumbled walls of Jericho, or choose to burn the ships. It’s time to step forward in faith and realize that God is doing a new and better thing.
We can’t let our trepidation of the unknown keep us from walking inland toward God’s purpose for our lives. If we keep looking back and holding onto the past, we miss what’s ahead of us. It cost Lot’s wife her life. She didn’t heed God’s warning and looked back. Doing so turned her into a pillar of salt.
We need to be turning to God to show us the way forward. What younger generation can we pour into? How can we get reinvested and reinvolved? It’s time to prepare to march into God’s promises knowing that He will never leave us nor forsake us. God’s making streams in the desert and paths through the wilderness (Isaiah 43:19), but we have to move forward to see it.
“Through every generation of the human race, there has been a constant war, a war with fear. Those who have the courage to conquer it are made free and those who are conquered by it are made to suffer until they have the courage to defeat it, or death takes them.” ~ Alexander the Great
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