Lifting the gates

 

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The Light of the World
“This reminds me,” commented G, “of an 18th century painting where Jesus is knocking but there is no handle. Only the one inside can open it.”

“I wonder where that painting is now?” C questioned. But G was not sure.

We were gathered together, our group of four, to discuss what the Spirit showed us in the scripture passages we’d been led to read, to re-read and to reflect.

It is a cold Monday evening, the temperature just dipping below -20 Celsius and I resisted to take the 10 minute drive to my church to attend the first evening of Solemn Assembly.

The church auditorium is open every night this first week of the calendar year for a gathering of guided prayer and meditation. It’s a time to ‘take an extended pause….to turn to God in prayer’ the printed guide defines.

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But I found myself resisting the invitation, this invite to be present in prayer.

What if, I think, He stays quiet, like I feel He has for these many months past?

So many unanswered prayers (at least in my perception) had me discouraged and my intellect mind challenged.

But I gathered up my bible and my favorite blue pens, and drove the snowy roads, grateful for the heated car seats. Yet, in a small act of defiance I see now, (I’ve shown up for you front and center God, now it’s time for you to show up for me!), I slipped into the second row from the back instead of my usual third row from the front position.

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A few moments later, on the other end of the pew, G and B take a seat, B being the woman I wrote of here, whose welcoming act and invitation when I first ever attended this church, began the breaking down of my defensive barriers as a single attending a church.

When we move in our seats to be closer together, G, B, C (a lady who took a seat behind me) and I, B asks a question of me, a confirming question that is. And, I ponder, is this an answer to prayer?

And C and I, we learn, have a mutual friend from another church. And our smiles mirror, as we reflect on how lovely this lady friend of ours is, and oh! what a small world it is!

But is it?

Instead of a small world of random chance, could this time be divinely orchestrated by the One who always is there to prosper me, because I showed up?

 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

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Maybe, just maybe, rather than waiting behind our gates of resistance, our gates of uncertainty, or our gates of  discontentment, it is when we move, take a step in faith by taking a step of action, is when we open the door for Christ.

Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. James 2:21-22

The handle is on our side. Jesus is just waiting for us to open the door so He can come in.

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Lift up your heads, you gates;                                                                                                                      be lifted up, you ancient doors,                                                                                                                     that the King of glory may come in. 

Who is this King of glory?                                                                                                                                 The Lord strong and mighty                                                                                                                          the Lord mighty in battle. 

Psalm 24:7-8

Is there an action of faith you are resisting to take? Are you waiting on Christ to make the move? Or maybe, just maybe, He’s waiting for you to lift open the gate….?

 

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16 thoughts on “Lifting the gates

  1. Hi Lynn,
    I often ponder if something is a divine appointment or just a quirky part of life and I have to believe in the unseen that there are no coincidences in our lives! But answers and clarity sometimes don’t come to what we’re seeking or pondering or come much later than we would like but in those very circumstances are the realizations that they are just as stunning too in their own ways, aren’t they? And I was excited to read your comment on my blog that you’d booked travel to Orlando this spring! Email me when you’ve got your plans made so we can consider meeting up — wouldn’t that be lovely?! 🙂 xoxo

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    1. It would be absolutely lovely to meet up! I will be making more detailed plans in February. Your words are wise too, that sometimes the clarity comes much later, or the answer to prayers are different than we thought. And, yet ‘stunning’ which is such a beautiful word to describe His ways. Quirky times in life are kind of fun though too, aren’t they? Have a beautiful week!

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  2. I love this post. So often, I forget to show up or ask what God wants of me. You have motivated me right in this moment. Thank you.

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  3. Thank you, Lynn. I love the meaning of the door with one handle. We so need to listen for and recognize God’s knock on our hearts. And to open it and follow Him in whichever way He leads us. It gives me pause for reflection – How many times have I not even listened for His knock/voice?

    I’m sorry for all the discouragement you have felt in the past months. Those “unanswered” prayers can weigh on us so heavily, can’t they? God be with you and give you courage to keep stepping forward! Love and hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Trudy, yes it can be discouraging when not seeing prayers answered but I’m learning that it’s me that needs to change as sometimes maybe I’m knocking on the wrong door! I know God is growing my faith and trust, which comes with “stepping forward” as you write. I hope you feel God’s peaceful and resting presence in this week. Love and hugs back to you!

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  4. Interesting … sometimes He seems quiet, other times it’s us. But while in our solitude we often pull away, He’s always very much present, always beckoning us to something deeper, longing to teach us lessons as we sit glumly in the waiting room..

    This, the sacred relationship.

    What a thoughtful post, friend …

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  5. Lynn, your post has me thinking about places of resistance in my own heart. Mine mostly come out of fear (I confess), but I’m getting better. I so appreciate the visual of being willing to open the door to Jesus. He’s a gentleman. He won’t force His way into my heart or my life. I guess I can stand to turn resistance into trust, huh? :):

    I hope—I trust—that God will meet you in your place of discouragement. Keep holding onto Him, my friend.

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  6. I found myself relating to this post a couple of times! Love the part where you say “Instead of a small world of random chance, could this time be divinely orchestrated by the One who always is there to prosper me, because I showed up?” I so often think this too!

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    1. Hi Kori, I’m glad you could connect to this post, although I wouldn’t want you to experience messing up a recipe like I did! 🙂 Reflecting and asking questions about our ‘random’ chances is also a way of showing up to see God working in our lives. It’s great to know you ask this question often too. May you God’s workings in your life today, bringing you joy and hope.

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  7. Hi Jeanne! Yes, we are always getting better when we look up, aren’t we? Our struggles DO make us stronger. I too can resist due to fear which for me comes down to myself. Can I trust that I will do the job well? But then faith needs to kick in, trusting that God will fill in the gaps for where I lack. Thanks always for your words of encouragement. Hae a beautiful day!

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  8. Lynn, I’m so glad you didn’t give in to what was holding you back and chose to step out in faith (literally and figuratively). Isn’t it amazing the blessings that flow when we choose to follow? Your story is such a great example of this.
    Marva | SunSparkleShine

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  9. Hi Lynn! I think it’s wonderful that you went out in that weather. Yikes, that is cold!!
    Not only was it brave to face that weather, you faced your fear that maybe nothing would happen for you. Maybe you wouldn’t hear the Lord’s voice, or see anyone you knew. What a banquet Jesus had ready for you! I’m so glad he responded with friends and joys for you that night. He truly is good!
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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  10. I can hear an expectancy in your voice that I have not heard in awhile. A thought or idea that is taking shape about God who has felt absent to you. I believe that nothing happens by chance but it is preordained by God. Meeting up with the people from church the other evening was what God knew you needed. It sounds like your friend B confirmed this for you in some way.

    Thank you for sharing you heart and for being transparent in your faith walk.

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