2-29-2020 A CONVERWATION WITH GOD
AND HIS RESPONSE
The Open Door
More than 40 years ago, in a Baptist church, I heard the story about “The Open Door”. A story of how we stray from God and think that it is He who has left us. Sort of like “Footprints in the Sand” – where were you (God) when I needed you? In “Footprints” God’s response was that the single set of prints in the sand was when He carried us when we could no longer stand.
In the “Open Door”, a man feels abandoned and wonders why God has left him.
If you have heard this before, this may not be exactly as you recall, but it’ll be pretty close. (At my tender age, my memory ain’t what it used to be)
My prayer would be that this retelling of the “Open Door” might touch some hearts and having read it, some souls would reconnect with our Lord and Savior in renewing a solid relationship with Him. Or that those who read this (already walking with our Lord) might share it with those who would.
In desperation a man tries to do something he hasn’t done in a long time ... “talk to God”.
Mulling over how harshly life has treated him the man passes by what used to be his prayer room. He pauses by the door, looks at it then feels a slight tug on his heart to enter in. He does. As he looks around, the chair he used to sit in is still where he left it. Still pondering his lot in life, he sits down:
God, it seems that at one point in my life (years ago) everything seemed to be going OK. It seems as though I always had enough money to get through the week and do something extra every so often. Now it seems that my money makes it only about half way to next pay day.
The job really sucks any more. I ask for a raise and they say “not at this time”. They make more and more demands of me on the job. I think that their expectations are really unreal. How can one person perform at the level that they are asking? Man! Just let me do my job and quit bugging me!
The home front? Boy! The home front isn’t any better. The wife used to greet me at the door when I got home in the evening. A smile and a kiss! Now she’s in the kitchen complaining about having to come home and cook after working her part time job AND take care of the house – by herself. “A” taking care of the house is ‘her’ job isn’t it? And “B” she just doesn’t understand the stress I’m under all day. I’m tired when I get home and all I want to do is relax with a few beers. Anything wrong with that?
She used to always be ready to jump in bed when I wanted to. Now it’s “not tonight. I’ve got a headache”. And she expects me to love her? She’s my wife. She’s supposed to meet my needs. Right?
The kids? Let ‘em play their video games and text their friends. It keeps them out of my hair. Oh, yeah! And the kids. They don’t seem to mind me anymore. When they were little I could bark out a command and it was done. I can’t see punishing them. That would just ruin their psyches. Anyway. Would it do any good?
God, what am I supposed to do? And don’t tell me to get to church regularly. Those hypocrites have no clue about what I’m going through. All they’ll say is “you gotta pray more!”, “you gotta read your bible more!”, “you gotta come to church more!”. What do they know? They don’t understand the pressures I’m under. I gave my life to you years ago. You said you’d never leave me nor forsake me so where’ve you been? I’m not even sure why I’m trying to talk with you even now.
In frustration the man starts to get up and go on his way then a feeling comes over him to sit back down and be still. He does!
After a few moments he starts wondering what he’s doing. Then, whether in his heart or through his ears, he couldn’t tell, a voice …
My child. I used to call you my son, but alas you are only a child. Where were you when I made the heavens and the earth from nothing? Where were you when I commanded the sea to roll up onto the shore, only so far, before slipping back into the ocean? Where were you when I shaped the mighty mountains, the lush, green forests and carved the wondrous caves into the depths of the earth? What were you doing when I threaded the land with rivers bringing their life-giving waters? Where were you when Lucifer rebelled against my love? What were you doing when I gave Moses the recipe for learning how to live in my love? Where were you as I hung on the cross shedding my Son’s precious blood hoping that it might bring you, and all others, back into my fellowship? You did come to me a while back, but then you quit coming. What were YOU doing as I waited in your prayer closet for you to return? I saw you passing the doorway. You, at least, used to look in. At first it was occasionally, then peek in as you passed by, but then you never even glanced through the doorway into the room in which I was – waiting. Do you have any idea how I’ve missed you?
Money, my child? Have you given anything back to me so I can bless you? Are you robbing me of the tithe I command you to give back to me, my child? Where has your money gone? The lottery? Beer? Bars? Do you spend frivolously on yourself without even regarding your wife, children or obligations?
Your job, my child. Do you really give your boss an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay? Or do you do just what you have to do to get by? Shouldn’t you be serving me on your job, my child? Do you realize that serving me, no matter what you are doing, brings the blessings?
Is a man’s home really his castle? When a man loves his wife and family as I have loved him, that’s when his home becomes his castle. What is the greatest commandment of all, my child? Isn’t it to love me with ALL your heart, mind, strength and soul AND to love your neighbor as your self? Your wife and children do come before your neighbors, right?
What does that mean? Living for me with every ounce of breath and energy you have and then treating those around you as you want them to treat you. In living for Me, you will treat others even better! Haven’t I said to do and say that which edifies others? That opens the door my child for me to bless you in ways you can’t even imagine.
How much do you really love your wife, my child? Do you treat her as though she is the most precious gift I could have given to you? She is, you know. Do you consider her thoughts and feelings? Do you even care what they are? My child, you are the head of your household. You have the responsibility of your entire household. YOU set the example. Love your wife. Truly love her and then watch that love come back to you.
How long have you let the kids “do their own thing”? Have you even tried to teach them wrong from right? Or is it ‘do as I say and don’t ask any questions’? Have you taught them independence with responsibility? If you don’t give your children direction for their lives through what you say and what you do, who does?
Church, my child? Churches are like people, they aren’t perfect but they should be growing – towards me. How can you learn about my love when you don’t read my “word” (the bible)? Go to church more often? My child when WAS the last time you graced any of my houses with your presence? Haven’t I said “don’t forsake the fellowshipping”? The church can support you in your time of need, even though they are not perfect. And you can always learn from other Christians as they share how I have helped them – they overcame by their testimonies. What makes you any different?
And Prayer, my child? What do you call starting this conversation with me?
Understand, prayer is not just reciting “Our Father, which art in heaven …”. It’s not just thanking Me for your food. It’s pouring your heart out to me. Your triumphs. Your defeats. All those things with which you wrestle. And my child, there’s another part to prayer. Once you’ve poured your heart out, be still and listen. Listen to what I have to say.
I may answer your prayer through your reading the bible. I may send another Christian to you with the solution. And my child, when I send another to you what they say will be in agreement with my Word and in love. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm. When was the last time you praised My name, glorified Me or even thought about thanking Me for the blessings I have already given you? Oh, by the way my child, as you draw closer to me in our walk, you will learn my voice and My Spirit will speak to your spirit and you will know it’s me because it too will always be in love and in agreement with my Word and designed to edify you. It has to be in agreement, I said it. Did you hear that? I said “I” will talk with you. Are you listening?
So! Where have I been, my child? I’ve been here all along waiting on you to come back. Waiting for you to actually talk WITH me. You know like two friends. I long to have not ‘just’ another child but another son with whom I can fellowship and upon whom I can shower my blessings. And not just a son but a friend with whom I can share and he can share with Me. Do you have any idea how My heart has ached for you?
My child. Where have you been?