Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Knocking

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio 

Photo by Tonia Bryceson

Revelation 3:20 (KJV)
 20Behold, 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.

I sat here this morning thinking about what to write for the letter k. The nice thing about a letter like "k" is there are fewer choices than some letters. I though about kindness - it is his kindness that leads us to repentance. I have seen so much of His kindness but I will save that for future posts. I started to think about where in my life is Jesus knocking. In some ways, it is, that I have begun to wrestle with the things of God in a way that I have not done formerly. In wrestling I am realizing that my understanding and views should grow and change. Part of my wrestling is to choose the more difficult things to write about or the things that require me to be more vulnerable and open. 

On the vulnerable side of things Jesus has been for the much of the past year knocking down the partitions of my heart. He has had my permission, I have asked Him to heal my very broken heart. I realize that I struggle to love others because I have been hurt, or disappointed through the years. I struggle to trust and to let others in - as you sit here reading you might think me to be very open - all I can say is that it has been a very long journey and I have a very long way yet to go. 

The partitions of my heart are the walls behind which I have locked things that have been too painful at the time. Things I could not sort out or reconcile the "why" and foolishly like Scarlett in Gone with the Wind - I have too often said " I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow." My tomorrows have been busy and I have found ways to avoid dealing with things and little by little they became piled up behind walls that I have created as boundaries beyond which I purposely never bothered to venture.  

Things happen in life that push and shake and rattle the partition walls. Sometimes in my mind it is like the souls in Revelation 6. The things locked behind my walls cry out to the Lord and to me "How long until you deal with this?" " I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 

It is hard to know what is behind those walls, some have been there for a very long time. Some things I remember but it is more like that of an outside observer. What has been locked away is the emotion, the feelings. I am stronger than I once was and Jesus is gentle and patient and realizes that I don't mean to resist him. He understands when I tell him "I can't do or face or let go of that yet" So we leave that place alone and look to some other area that needs attention.  I am trying in the present to feel life as I go through it and to not put it off and just rush past. I am trying not to create more partitions that will have to be dealt with later. Lord help me deal with them now. Help me repent of my part in things, help me forgive those who have wronged or hurt or disappointed me. Help me put these memories away clean. So that when those memories surface again in the future they won't be all pussy and infected they will simply be scars that have healed and remin to tell the story of God's faithfulness, grace and mercy in my life.

So today I am looking at where Jesus is knocking. What doors would he have me open to him. We might have to tidy up a bit before we can sit down and eat together. Little by little we are creating spaces and places where not only He but others are able to be welcomed in.  My friend Tonia posted photos yesterday of her newly set up patio space. She has such a gift of hospitality and a eye for making spaces warm and inviting. You may have been wondering about my photo choice today - it is a photo of Tonia's patio. I won't show you mine presently its pretty neglected and part of a messy garage project I will need to tackle in the very near future.  If I would like to have a patio to enjoy as the weather in Spokane becomes nicer I will need to deal with that mess. My heart is much the same there are some lovely places, that like Tonia's patio that are ready to be shared with others. There are other places like my own patio that are still a mess and are an embarrassment to me and I hesitate to let even Jesus into those places. Ecclesiastes 3: says "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."

I guess my challenge to you is to stop and look and listen. Where is Jesus knocking? There are probably some spaces in your own heart that could use a make over or a bit of tidying up.

 There are not only places where Jesus is knocking but places where I am knocking. Places where I am wrestling to understand how do I do this thing I find in the Word.  How do I really love like Jesus loves - ahhh but that perhaps is tomorrows post for the letter L.
Here's a promise that comforts and encourages me when I struggle.
Matthew 7 7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
 I do have to bother to seek and to knock and to wrestle with the harder things and not just sluff them off as the things of theologians and great thinkers. I believe as I grow and mature that part of my responsibility is to learn to feed myself on the word and to wrestle with the meat that is hard to chew. 
Dear Lord, Help those who read this today to make the time to deal with the spaces and places of their own hearts. Help them to pause and hear your voice and to notice where you are knocking. Give them the courage to let you in. Thank you for being so gentle, patient and kind. Help us to repent and to forgive, help us model for others how to live and work and move and have our being in your kingdom. Thine is the Kingdom and the glory and the power - forever and ever - thank you that it is always you, Jesus that helps us to will and do those things that you want done. Thank you for the work that you have done in each of our hearts and for the work that you have yet to do.

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