Wednesday, October 20

Opening Up

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. --Revelation 3:20

If our individual experiences have not prepared us to recognize Jesus, then how are we to respond to him when he knocks on the doors of our hearts? Is there some sort of spiritual peep-hole that we can look through to discern if it really is him standing there, knocking and calling to us?

I believe that God prepares us to be able to respond when he knocks at our hearts. He introduces himself to us in a variety of ways so that when he shows up on our doorstep, we recognize him as a friend and need not fear who he is or why he is there. Sometimes a person is not immediately ready to open the door when he knocks. Past hurts may make it difficult to trust him. Opening the door to our hearts means we make ourselves vulnerable. That vulnerability can make us afraid of showing our heart's contents to anyone, let alone God.

When I was young and first became a Christian, it was easy for me to open my heart to God. My heart was not harboring any painful secrets or past hurts. A couple years ago I was hurt beyond belief. The evil things of this world got a hold of me and knocked me down hard. I mistakenly blamed God, thinking that he had caused my pain. I decided to slam the door to my heart. I told God to leave me alone. For a number of months I not only kept the door to my heart very tightly closed, but I dead-bolted it, put a moat around it, and erected a sturdy barbed-wire fence.

But God still loved me and still desired a relationship with me. He wanted me to open that door to him once again. Some of my Christian family and friends set to work, deftly cutting down that barbed wire fence. Eventually, the moat dried up. Every day, God was able to get closer to the door of my heart. Finally, he knocked. Although I was hesitant, I turned the deadbolt and opened the door--at first just a crack, and then completely. Standing there was God, just as he had always been; arms open with love and comfort. God had shown me that although he may allow evil things to happen in this world, he is not the one who causes them.

I have realized that opening the door of my heart to God is not quite the same as opening my heart to anything of this world. When we open our hearts to things of this world, we sometimes unwittingly make ourselves vulnerable to hurt. God can never hurt us and never will. To open our hearts to him is to open ourselves to his eternal, unconditional love. I am glad that I opened the door when he knocked, and I only regret that I didn't do so sooner. I am thankful that even when I thought I wanted him to leave me alone, he continued to pursue me in love. He used my friends and family to show me that he is a God of love. Had it not been for them, I may have not been able to recognize his voice when he stood at the door of my heart, persistently knocking and calling my name.


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