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Two Novels about Open or Closed Doors

Two stories were written in the twentieth century that share the same title: The Door in the Wall.

One of them won the Newbery Medal for children's literature. The ten-year-old son of a medieval knight become ill and crippled. He is separated from his parents by a cruel enemy army and cared for by a friar named Brother Luke. He is ashamed and disappointed by his legs—others call him "Robin Crookedshanks." He feels that his life will always be insignificant with him unable to serve and having no chance to show courage or do glorious deeds. But the friar takes him to his monastery, teaches him to read and swim and carve, and teaches him to pray for the faith that a fine and beautiful life still lies before him, "Always remember," the friar says, "thou hast only to follow the wall far enough, and there will be a door in it."

At the end of the story, it is his disability that leads to his opportunity. His crooked legs cause the enemy to under-estimate him. The resilient spirit he has grown in response to his challenges keeps him going. He alone finds the door in their fortress wall. He ends up against all odds being the rescuer who can steal unsuspected through enemy lines and save the people he loves. It is his faith in the old friar's words that keeps him going.

The other story was written by H. G. Wells, best known for his science fiction works like The War of the Worlds. In Wells' story the promise of the door in the wall is a cruel hoax. A man is haunted all his life by the memory of a door that leads to an enchanted garden that contains all he ever longed for. He searches in vain for that door his whole life. At the end of the story his dead body is found—fallen off a construction site behind a wall marked by a door that looks exactly like the one he has been seeking.

Possible Preaching Angles: (1) Hope—in this life—When you're going through difficult times, do you know that God has a door of hope waiting to open for you? (2) Hope—in the life to come; Eschatology—Those who hope in Christ know that there is an open door at the end of history and the end of their lives.

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