Friday, November 1, 2013

I Stand and Knock

Revelation 3:18-21
 18.  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
  19.  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
  20.  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
  21.  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
These verses of scripture have stirred my soul today.  I'm not even sure I can convey my thoughts, as many of them are too sacred to me to share publicly.  But I will try to convey at least some of what I have learned from them.  They have touched me deeply. 

The message I see in these verses that this life wasn't meant to be easy. In fact, it is part of the Plan that it not be.  As Thomas Paine once so eloquently stated to the soldiers of the American Revolution, "What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated." 

While there is no doubt the freedoms we profess to treasure here in America are being threatened on every front, my thoughts today go more to the freedom (and loss of it) that has come to myself and my family as a result of the things we're all still living with...things that were done to our kids and to us...poor choices that have left a wake of destruction in their path...things that have happened to all of us that have permanently changed our hearts, our lives, and our souls (often in ways we resent and grieve over.)  And yet, we are told point blank here in these verses that whom the Lord loves, He chastens. 

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has ever said that sometimes I wish, perhaps, that He didn’t love or trust me quite so much because this business of chastening is getting really old and has just about done me in.  I’m also sure I’m not the only one who has sat through one of those fluffy Sunday School lessons of “all this stuff will be for your good and if you let Jesus into your life, all will be well” and been very frustrated and disheartened because the reality we live has proven that it isn’t that simple.  Hell doesn’t release its prisoners easily or willingly, and the process of “fixing things” isn’t as easy as simply opening the door and letting Christ into our lives.  In fact, I confess there have been times…more than I care to admit to, actually, when I’ve wanted to stand up and scream “But I’m not I’m not a martyr.  I’m not a saint.  I’m not one of those famous people in history who will live forever glorified on a pedestal because they died for what they believe. I’m little old me.  I’m very human, I’m very imperfectly and weakly ordinary, I don’t have any special training or calling, I didn’t sign up for this, I’ve done everything I was supposed to be doing, and yet the forces of hell…not little trials mind you, but the very forces of hell itself…are still incessantly raging against me and have all but shattered and devoured my family!”

I'm sure many of us have seen this picture, or at least one similar to it.  It references verse 20 above in which the Savior is standing at a door and knocking.  Except there is no door knob on the outside.  The only way for him to gain entrance into this house is if the door is opened from the other side. 

I suppose one could say the "eyesalve" spoken of in verse 18 above has finally began working today.  As I read these verses, I finally saw the person the Savior is really requesting audience with on the other side of this door. It’s not the prim and proper, well dressed, well groomed, and nicely polished soul. It’s not the well-intentioned, or even well-doing Christian. It’s not the missionary. It’s not the people sitting reverently in church.  It’s not the pastor or the bishop or even the Sunday School teacher.  It’s not the ladies who have prepared a lovely meal, and nor is it those who are eagerly awaiting His arrival so they can sit at his feet and bask in His presence.

While I don’t discredit that any of those others will benefit by and be very blessed by opening the door and allowing the Savior into their lives, I realized today that the person He really wants to reach on the other side of that door is me.  It’s my family and my children.  It’s all of us who have been beaten up, knocked around, worn down, burned out, chastened beyond what we feel like we can take anymore, know exactly what the forces of hell and refining fires look like, and have the battle scars to prove it.

Look carefully at the order these things are stated in the verses above. Notice what comes before “I stand at the door and knock.”  There is a lot. We are counseled to buy the gold of the Savior…not just any gold, but specifically the gold that has been tried and refined in the fire of adversity, for it is in that gold…and the lessons we take away from those refining fires… that the riches of eternity really lie.  We are likewise invited to seek understanding, to be cleansed and not be ashamed, to change what is in our control to change, and then to see this refining and renewing process and the purposes of it for what they really are. 

Even more importantly, notice what comes after the chastening, after the refining fire, and after the Savior knocks. Again, there is much.  He isn’t merely asking for us to open the door and let him drift in and out of our lives.  In all his love, compassion, and mercy, He is requesting that He be allowed to come in and sit down at the table with our very broken, worn out, beaten down, imperfect, battle scarred selves. He wants to explain things as we dine…feast…and commune together.

He also wants us to know that we’re not alone. He wants us to know that He understands where we’re at and what we’ve been through.  After all, he’s been beaten down, stripped, screamed at, spit on, mocked, falsely accused, misjudged, and rejected, too.  He’s even had mean people hammer great big nails into his hands and feet just because they didn’t like what he had to say.

And then, finally, He wants us to see that there really is a way out of the darkness.  He wants to help us see the big picture.  He wants us to know that holding on, trusting, doing the best we can, and overcoming is worth whatever it takes to make it happen.  The promise is right there in the scriptures.  Those who overcome are promised the riches of eternity and have a place at His throne, which is right next our Our Heavenly Father’s throne.

Notice he didn’t say that overcoming is synonymous with having things turn out all peachy and rosy, or even with having our trials end.  He simply said the promises are there for those who overcome whatever it is they need to overcome…be that sin, doubt, fear, weakness, anger, resentment, hopelessness, exhaustion, or whatever.  Perhaps, and probably, it also means patiently and willingly enduring whatever life throws at us, regardless of whether we understand the reasons for it, or regardless of whether they come to an end or not in this lifetime.


Karine said...


Karine said...

Love it! Inspiring!

Wendi Pierce said...

You have no idea how much I needed to read that post at the very time I read it. I was having a hard day but the end of the day was the worst and I was finished with everything in my life. Thank you for reminding me that I need to continue to be patient and "willingly" endure whatever life throws at me.

christieminich said...

Beautiful post Diana.

Johanna said...

Lovely thoughts! I do think that Satan wants us to think that if we are good people nothing very bad will happen to us. But that isn't what God says to us ever. He only ever says that we should trust in Him and that what He asks us to do will give us strength and comfort along the way and ultimately bring us back to Him. NOT that we will have a party here (although a party sounds so much better than reality!). I think Satan hopes we'll believe his lies because then it puts a wedge (or door, if you will) between us and God and our Savior. Anyhow - thanks for sharing your thoughts so eloquently!

Anonymous said...

I don't even want to start reading until I can abosrb this properly. THANK YOU a million times. For sharing what you were able to about how your heart is processing Scripture in light of unimaginable pain. I understand so much and will read this over again later. God bless you!