Matthew 7:14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life and there are few who find it.” Whoever says mood doesn’t affect biblical interpretation is a liar. Or at least they are far less hormonal than I am. Today, when I read Matthew 7:14, I didn’t focus on my movement toward Life or the magnitude of this journey. No, I’m not spiritual enough for that interpretation. Instead, I’ve chosen to focus on the narrow nature of the way, the constricting nature of the gate. And the result is that I feel like I’m absolutely suffocating.
Every time Brett isn’t perfect or Olive cries for more than 30 seconds, I feel the squeeze of the small gate. Every time I don’t get my own way or I feel fat or left out, I’m face to face with the narrow nature of the way. I want to jump out into the broader way, where I can do what I want and be unashamedly led by my immaturity. I don’t want God’s heart for people. I don’t want the satisfaction God extends. I don’t want grace or compassion. And in these moments, I feel pride put its hands on peace and strangle the crap out of it. The narrow way feels less like life and more like walls closing in on me—walls of spikes moving closer and closer like in an Indiana Jones movie.
Just when I think I can’t breathe, reality shakes me till I can see again. Maybe the narrow way is restrictive, but maybe it’s less like a crushing squeeze and more like being held by arms that are stronger than me. Maybe it’s narrow because of the depth of the embrace. Maybe I’m not being held back from doing whatever I want… maybe I’m just being held. This narrow way is actually a strong affection—a love that wants what’s best for me and won’t let go until I finally melt into it. The narrow way is not suffocating; instead, this is what it feels like to be pressed into the heart of God and held by his arms. The broader way represents distance from God. This narrow way is the way of the intimate embrace. And as I am pressed against the chest of God, I hear the heartbeat of God. I hear the fierce love, the prodigal love, the inexplicable love that is willing to hold me close. And when this love doesn’t let go, I stop fighting and slowly melt into the embrace that gives perspective, forgiveness and rest.