"For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." (Psalm 84:10)
I stared at these words as God began to talk to me. It was my thirtieth birthday, and a verse that I had learned as a nine year old Bible quizzer had been flowing through my mind all morning.
For over twenty years I had believed that I knew what the psalmist was saying in this passage: that living for God is so much better than living in the "pleasures of sin for a season". I had rejoiced in this verse; I loved quoting it and thanking God for allowing me to be raised in Truth.
But on this day, the Lord showed me a different meaning to these words.
Maturity, age, and experience are excellent teachers in this life. Our childish innocence fails to see the struggles to reach success; we only see the mighty dreams. Like Joseph, we see the exaltation of those around us "bowing down" but not the dark of the prison or the pain of slavery to reach that final achievement.
When I felt the call to ministry as a teenager, all I saw was the glitz and glamor of it all - the speaking before hundreds, doing music at great meetings, being admired as a preacher's wife, praying the prayer of faith and seeing God's miraculous at work. I never saw the depth of sorrow, the lack of admiration, the humbling, the obscurity that one must first endure to be truly effective in ministry.
For years after entering into ministry, unmet expectations and obscurity fogged the dream that I could see out of reach in the distance. Am I not really called, Lord? Am I not worthy to be used by You? What have I done wrong? These questions plagued my mind as God placed me on His potter's wheel and reshaped, molded, and formed me to become more like Him - not my definition of what a preacher's wife should be.
And so, on this day, the celebration of the thirtieth year of my life on this earth, God revealed this truth to me. Though I had believed that the sum of this verse could be contained in "Live for God! It's the best life!", a deeper meaning emerged the longer I delved into scripture.
The term "doorkeeper" is not a place of position like we like to think it.
Albert Barnes puts it this way: "I would choose rather to sit at the threshold...to be at the door or the entrance, even without the privilege of entering the house". When we break down "tents of wickedness", we find that it literally means "a wrong place".
I was stunned at this truth: it's better to wait on the outside looking in - unused, with no position, title, or recognition - than to dwell or live in comfort in a wrong place, outside of the will of God.
All of my expectations of ministry came tumbling down. It's tough feeling like you have a call of God on your life, yet you still are on the outside looking in. You still feel like you're not used of God, and the dreams God placed in you are nothing more than dreams.
But it's still better to wait on the threshold of God's house, keeping the door without recognition, than to step outside of God's will to fulfill our own desires.
If you are in this season of "keeping the door", my friend, be encouraged.
You're in the right place.