Written by: Molly Parker
Car doors, barn doors, cupboard doors, front doors. Do you know what all these things have in common? They would all be boring speech topics but do you know what is an interesting topic?
Hi, my name is Molly Parker. I’d like to talk to you today about the sliding doors of history.
A sliding door of history is a pivotal moment that is decided by a single small decision – do I turn left or do I turn right? Do I get up at 6:30am or 7:00am? Do I drive the car or do I walk that day?
Today, I am going to be talking about Sliding doors that changed the course of history, a sliding door miracle and how God uses sliding doors in our lives.
Have you ever dreamed about your life being different? Have you ever wondered what might have happened if you did something different today or yesterday? I like to daydream and imagine how life could be different for all of us if little moments in history were changed. Think with me for a moment: what if Martin Luther King Jr was never shot; what if he got into parliament and became President of the United States of America? What if, instead, the night before his assassination, James Earl Ray, (the man who killed Martin Luther) prayed and God came to him and calmed his heart and the next morning he woke up with peace instead of anger?
Imagine how that might affect our lives today. Would Black Lives Matter still need to be happening? Would all of the 74,000 black American lives lost through racial strife and injustice over the last 50 years be undone? You might think that Martin Luther’s death and his sliding door might not affect us, but think about it – 74,000 is a LOT of people.
Let’s think about this again: 74,000 lives might seem like a big number but here is another one, 6 million.
6 million, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, family and friends, murdered through the Jewish Holocaust, in Hitlers mad German dictatorship from 1941-1945. But what if in the many attempts to try to kill Hitler, one succeeded. Would that number of murdered people change? I am thinking in particular of the assassination plan on July 20th, 1944.
General Hans Von Dohnanyi planned that a bomb was to be placed in a suitcase, and planted under a table in a conference room where Adolf Hitler was talking.
The sliding door moment is, Hitler was four chairs away from the bomb, so he only had minor injuries. However, what if the janitor who had cleaned the conference room before had put out less chairs? What if Hitler had sat one chair closer to the right? 6 million innocent people might have never been lost. With one small decision about a chair, history hung in the balance.
After the 2 world wars ended there was confusion, loss and hatred. People were desperate for jobs, and wanted to leave the countries that had caused them such tremendous loss, and pain. So, when Canada and Australia offered free passage and jobs to immigrants from Europe, more than 160,000 Dutch immigrants went between 1947 and 1954. Since both were great opportunities, an enormous number of them made that final decision, Canada or Australia, by a coin flip.
Heads Australia, tails Canada. That was the coin that flipped YOUR history.
Here’s another sliding door.
On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 took off from Heathrow Airport in London headed for New York City. 40 minutes into the plane ride, it blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland. Danielle and Stephen Carr, the Australian figure skating pair, and my mum’s old next-door neighbors were supposed to be on that flight. A sliding door completely saved their life.
The winter Olympic games of 1988 were held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The competition was tough with a lot of skilled athletes, so the Carr family decided to train in Russia to prepare with the best-of-the-best figure skating coaches. Their flight was booked and ready to go, but days before they were due to leave, their Soviet visas were canceled. So, they weren’t allowed to enter the country. The Carrs were frustrated, mad, and so upset. They were also believers so they were praying, “Lord why did you let this happen?”
But then, when a couple days later the bomb went off, Danielle and Stephen, and everyone who knew them joined them in thanking God that in their sliding moment, they went right instead of left.
We’ve talked about big moments in history that could have gone one way or another based on nothing more than a chair, a prayer, and a passport failure.
And yet, is this really true?
As Christians, we have GREAT comfort in the fact that God’s Word tells us NOTHING is random in our lives. He is in charge of everything. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29:11.
We may not love all of God’s plans, and some things that happen to us may even seem like evil won. Remember what Joseph said to his brothers when he was second in charge of all of Egypt, and his brothers came to visit to get grain? “You meant it for evil but God meant it for good, for the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20.
I don’t share any of this to make you insecure in your decisions. Remember our God is large and in charge, and if you take anything from this today, it’s that if you trust in him, you can rest knowing he has your future in his hands.
Although it’s interesting to think about, don’t worry about sliding doors. God has got a very good “HANDLE” on you.