A Knock on the Door
It’s around 10:30 p.m. on the cruise ship. We’re somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. I am too tired to stay up any longer.
I send Jeff out with our group of friends to go to the next show without me.
I’m in bed alone, lights out. I hear a knock on the door. I’d locked it earlier, but not bolted it. I want Jeff to be able to get back in when he returns.
Has Jeff forgotten his key?
I don’t want to get up unnecessarily, so I first try saying, “Come in.”
I hear the door open. But when it does, it’s not Jeff standing there.
It’s not anyone I know.
It’s a man in a uniform.
This Is Not Normal
The stranger steps inside my door, leaving it cracked. He tells me he’s with maintenance. He’s here to work on the door.
We actually had reported a problem with our door earlier that morning. It wasn’t locking well.
But what maintenance man comes calling at 10:30 p.m.???
I wasn’t dressed appropriately to get out of bed to show him the issue. And I was too shocked to say the most logical thing, “Please leave now. Come back tomorrow!”
So instead, he props open the door, just a sliver, and sits down quietly on the floor with his tool box.
And I lie in bed with HUGE prayers.
God, please, let this man be legit. Please make him leave. Please let Jeff come back NOW.
I feel completely vulnerable. My phone is out of reach. And even if I were to scream, who would hear me? My friends in the cabin room next door are out with Jeff.
The man seems nervous, too. He walks into the bathroom. He does something noisy with the trash can. Then he walks back to sit on the floor by the cracked door.
This is not normal.
But as long as I see the sliver of light shining into the room from the hallway, it means the door is still propped open. And it means I still have hope to avoid total darkness with this stranger, unprotected and all alone.
It seems like an hour passes.
But it’s probably only 10 minutes. The man is still sitting on the floor, thinking with his tools; I’m still frozen in bed, my heart racing, my mind spiraling.
I hear voices down the hall. It’s Jeff returning to the room, thank God!
He’s surprised to see this man here.
Jeff asks what he’s doing and immediately tells him to leave. The man mutters a quiet reply under his breath, quickly grabs his tools, and scurries down the hallway.
That Sliver of Light
I’ve never felt such relief in my life. I’ve been rescued. The complete darkness never came. Not this time.
The next day we report the incident to our cabin steward. He is distressed. He knows nothing about a maintenance call nor who the employee could have been. He apologizes and promises it won’t happen again.
I’m still shaken for days afterward.
Perhaps the man had no nefarious motives. But this could have ended differently, especially in my imagination.
Yet instead of a disaster, I’d only had a scare.
I’m beyond grateful.
Thank you, God, for that sliver of light, for leaving the door cracked open, for always leaving space for hope.
I want to stay in your light forever.
Even though this took place five years ago, it still feels fresh.
Our memory verses in 1 John 1 this week are about admitting when we need help from God. When we each come clean with him, we stay in the light with each other.
When have you felt saved by the light? Share in the comments.
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