This will be the first in a series I’ll call “Sunday Reflections” in which I look at some verses of scripture and how they have related to my journey back to the Lord and maybe to yours as well.It All Starts With a Prayer
“Knock and it will be opened to you” from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 7 verse 7, if there is one verse in the Bible which hits home to me it is this one. There have only been a few times in my life where I have asked for God’s help, The first was about thirty years ago. I was in a bad place in my life, I had two young kids, a job where I worked seven days a week, a drinking problem and still hadn’t gotten over an affair from a year or so prior to this time.
My uncle had passed away and it was the day of his funeral. When I arrived at the church I knelt to pray, looked up at the crucifix and prayed to God to help me get out of the mess I was in. I knew I had a problem, I knew if I continued down the path I was on, I would lose everything, more than likely including my life. I asked for a sign, something to show me what I needed to do.
When God Knocks – Open the Door
When the funeral was over I returned to work, I ran a small grocery store for my father. As I reached to open the rear door, the door opened and out walked a man who had worked for my Dad, in fact I replaced him as the manager. He had opened his own place and had stopped by me to tell me he had lost it and it was closed. In front of me I saw a defeated man, grey and drawn, beat down by life. He had a drinking problem, which had gotten worse once he opened his own place and this led to the loss of his business.
Later that night, as I tried to sleep, every time I would close my eyes, I would see him coming out the door. I tossed and turned all night and finally about dawn, I realized what was happening. That was the sign from God, telling me what I needed to do, that I needed to change my life.
I wish I could say I was changed right then and there, but I wasn’t. I stopped
drinking for a short time, but fell back to my sinful ways. It wasn’t until recently, after a couple of other incidents in my life that I actually figured out exactly what God was trying to tell me that day.
After a close call a
t my current job, where I could have been seriously injured I began to think about what I call the “whole God thing”. I thought about life, death, eternity, Heaven, Hell and even if there was a God. I spent a lot of time thinking of all these questions, which has resulted in this blog for one thing. But the interesting thing is when I thought back to the day when that man came out that door, I tired to figure out the true meaning of that sign.
I had always thought God was telling me to stop drinking, to stop and spend time with my family, to mend my ways, but that obviously hadn’t worked. As I stated for a short time I got better, but over the next three decades I would cycle between sinning and being good. If that man opening that door was truly a sign, why had it failed?
After thinking about this all day, when I arrived home I opened my Bible, as I do almost every night. I was reading the book of Matthew, beginning with Chapter 7.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find,; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks, receives, and he who seeks, finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” – Mt 7 – 8
The sign wasn’t in the face of the man walking out the door, the sign was the door being opened. I had knocked, and the door had been opened. God was telling me it was time to open His door, to walk into His world, to seek the answers from Him. What God wanted me to do was to continue to read His Word, to learn what He had to teach me, that was His answer. That is where the answers lie.
I only wish I had figured it out back then, my life would have been different than it was, but then we always hear how God has a plan for us, and I believe this was part of His plan. I needed to sin and to continue through this cycle of ups and downs, near alcohol dependency, a failed marriage and now the knowledge that in some way I am responsible for what has happened in my children’s life.
We can’t change the past, we can only change the future. I wish I hadn’t left the church, stopped praying and I can’t say stopped reading the Bible since I never did anyway, but that wasn’t the path I chose. Temptation and sin won over, and now, all these years later, I have begun to change. I am not where I need to be yet but am making progress. Is it too late? Time will tell, but I am willing to accept God’s judgment on me when the time comes.
The lesson here is this, God truly does work in mysterious ways. He will answer our prayers but it is up to us to be able to read the signs and interpret them correctly. If you seek, you will find, if you ask you will receive, if you knock the door will be opened, but God won’t do all the work for you. You have to take the first step, you have to ask.