A few posts ago I wrote about the recent deaths of two of my cousins. I also mentioned that one of them was the daughter of an uncle who passed away at a bad time in my life and there was a story of an answered prayer that goes along with the day of his funeral. I am not sure if I have relayed it or not on here, if so, forgive the repeat. One of the reasons I so strongly believe that God speaks to us is because of this story. I always refer to it as the “Door” story.
It goes way back to an incident from the early eighties when life wasn’t going all that good. I was drinking heavily, not running my father’s business like I should, I was committing adultery with a young woman who worked for me, basically making a mess of things, breaking lots of commandments. As I mentioned, one of my uncles had passed away and I left work to attend the funeral. I remember kneeling in the pew before the mass and looking up at the crucifix and saying:
“God, I know I haven’t been a really good person, and I probably don’t deserve anything from you, but Lord I am asking you for something now. I need help, my life is fucked up and I need your help. I can’t promise anything but Lord, send me some kind of sign, tell me what do do.”
This was a time when I had distanced myself from the Church, I had never really learned anything about my faith, although I did believe in God. But as so many my age, I had decided I knew better than the church and would pick and choose what I would believe. I would follow some of the church’s teaching and disregard the teachings I didn’t like.
After the funeral, I went back to work. There was a door which we used to enter into the back room of the building, separate from the customer entrance. As I reached for the handle, the door opened and coming out of the door was the man who I had basically replaced as the manager of the store. He had left and opened his own small store in the next town over from me. Unfortunately he was an alcoholic and gambler and ran his business into the ground. He had stopped by to tell me he had closed his business and wanted me to cash in some food stamps, which he had been taking illegally. (Yes I did cash them.) But what I remember most was seeing him when the door opened. I can only describe him as a ghost, his face was gray and drawn, eyes sunken in, a broken man. Even though I knew it was his fault, I had been hearing all kinds of stories about him, including from my then wife who had been working for him for awhile, about taking three hour lunches, coming back drunk, loud and boisterous card games at the store, while it was open, I felt bad. But going back to work I didn’t give it another thought.
That night I couldn’t sleep. Every time I would close my eyes, I would see his face coming through the door. That face and the look of defeat, beaten down, failure. It wasn’t until about dawn when it hit me as to why I kept seeing his face, this was the sign God was sending me. God was telling me if I continued in this way, I would be in the same place in a short time. (Many years later when I began my journey back to God, I had a different, more accurate interpretation of this dream, but it still was my “sign”.) I stopped drinking, I concentrated on my work, paid attention to my family, at least for awhile. I went back to my old ways, then would quit again, and then go back. This is another story for another time. The point is God sent me the sign I asked for, and it was the door opening for me.
A few years ago when I was first exploring this whole God thing, I thought about this incident. While I had always thought that the “sign” was seeing this beaten down man when the door opened and seeing myself the same if I didn’t change, God actually was giving me another sign, another message. And as He so often does he gave me the message through a scripture passage.
“Ask, and it will be given 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. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” – Matthew 7: 7 – 12
What God had really been telling me was that I had knocked (my prayer) and He had opened the door. I believe the door was, and still is, a symbol for several things. In this instance it meant I needed to enter this door, follow Jesus, learn what He taught, and follow Him. This was the door He was opening for me.
I wish I had understood this message way back when I first received it but I guess it wasn’t time yet. Had I, I am pretty sure things in my life would have worked out differently than they did, but, if they had maybe I wouldn’t be writing and sharing my faith.