“Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him.” (Psalm 68:4)
My grandmother owned an enormous bunch of curiously designed keys that jingled as she moved around her home on Vermont Avenue in Kingston, Jamaica. One of them held the special charm of unlocking the brightly painted door wedged between her kitchen and the breakfast area. Inside that well-stocked cupboard were shelves laden with tempting foods sequestered away from persuasive grandchildren. From my six-year-old perspective, when Sittu Yvonne finally inserted that key in the lock, it was as if a pirate’s bulging treasure chest had been flung open wide.
Later, in the fourth form at Westbrook Prepatory School on Half-Way Tree Road, I had the good fortune to have Miss Twist as my teacher. Every afternoon before we exited her classroom, she read to us in her soothing British accent. I was captivated by the story of four children who traveled between two worlds through an enormous carved wardrobe they had entered quite by accident.
Summer holidays began before Miss Twist finished her story, and for the longest time I wondered how the tale ended. Ten years passed before I discovered that the book she had been reading was C. S. Lewis’s memorable allegory, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I inhaled the fascinating story in a few sittings, finding it even more remarkable than I had imagined. This book would become a favorite of all five of our children as we experienced Lewis’s magical world of Narnia.
Old doors with interesting locks still grab my attention. I gravitate toward them on every overseas mission trip or vacation getaway and find myself photographing them the way others capture renowned landmarks. As we meander through old city squares or down picturesque cobbled streets, I wonder what magical place might exist behind that unusual door before me. Surely I could discover some delightful adventure if I only had the proper key.
In Scripture, I learn of doorways to secure places and keys that unlock meaningful realms when my heart bows before the Maker of heaven and earth. If I take the psalms seriously, I enter a different world that allows me to be still and to know deep in my soul that he is God, regardless of the confusion or craziness prevailing nearby. He unlocks the treasures of peace, security, and confidence when I choose to make praise a primary focus. Time and again in his Word, God prompts me to sing, rejoice, and lift my voice to give him the exaltation he deserves.
“Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue” (Psalm 66:16–17). “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs. When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive” (Psalm 69:30–32).
God’s kingdom holds keys that open doorways to renewal and rest. Worship is one that works especially well. Give it a turn, and open your heart to praise.
Elizabeth A. Mitchell