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A Knock at the Door

How God Uses Adversity to Get Our Attention

In Revelation, Jesus addressed the complacent church at Laodicea, saying, “I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” (3:20). Sometimes, His knocking is a light tapping in our spirit. But other times, when we are inattentive, He may use a pounding fist of adversity to turn our focus to Him.

That’s exactly what happened to Saul of Tarsus as he traveled to Damascus, where he intended to bring great persecution upon the Christians in that city. Scripture tells us that Saul was “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1). It seemed that his cruel mission nearly consumed him.

But God got Saul’s attention in a way he never expected. The Lord sent him crashing to the ground with a blazing light and told him to wait in the city for instructions. Upon opening his eyes, Saul found himself blind and had to ask others to lead him by hand into the city.

The “persecutor of the church” (Phil 3:6) definitely received a wake-up call from the Lord that day. In one stunning moment, God gained Saul’s undivided attention, striking him with the adversity of blindness and humbling him in front of his traveling companions.

Saul felt more than ready to listen when the Lord asked, “Why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4). Up to that point, he had no idea he was dishonoring God. In fact, he thought he was serving the Lord by ridding the world of Christians. A period of intense adversity resulted in a complete turnaround—within a matter of days, he was proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues (v. 20).

The Lord got Saul’s full attention on the Damascus Road. He used temporary blindness and humiliation to transform Saul, the zealous Pharisee, into Paul, the powerful apostle and missionary who would spread the gospel and plant churches across the Roman world.

God knew exactly what He was doing when He saved Paul. And He knows what He is doing in your life through the affliction you are facing. Never delay in responding to His call. When He allows difficulties in your life, seek Him, give Him your full attention, respond to His commands quickly and humbly, and listen for what He has to say to you.

As Paul later wrote, “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor. 7:10). God allows adversity into our life to turn our attention to Him. And while it can be painful to endure, it leads us into a deeper relationship with Him and saves us from future destruction.

If you hear the Lord “pounding” through adversity in your life, respond quickly by opening the door to Him. Here are some steps to take:

Admit the sin. Repent of your wrongdoing to God. Remember that our society is quick to accept some sinful behaviors as normal, but the Bible presents a clear picture of what is iniquity and what isn’t. If you have any doubt about whether you have violated God’s instructions, consult Word and He will show you. When you confess to God that you have sinned, don’t try to justify what you did. Simply state your transgression. Then ask Him to forgive you.

Make amends. While we must be sure we don’t try to substitute works for genuine repentance, a heart that has truly been changed by Christ will want to live according to His will. Make it a habit to read Scripture and apply it to your life. You many need to seek godly counsel or professional help if certain sins have a stronghold in your life. Ask God for wisdom and the will to follow His commandments.

Accept forgiveness. If you have repented of your sins, you can be assured that the Lord has forgiven you. That is a divine promise (1 John 1:9)—and God always keeps His Word.

We can avoid a lot of pain and suffering by keeping our focus on the Lord. This way, God does not have to resort to extremes. He doesn’t enjoy bringing us to the point of despair in order to get our attention, but He will do what is necessary to turn our hearts to Him. However, if we seek Him daily through prayer and Scripture, we will be more likely to hear His light tapping—and ready to open the door when He calls.

Adapted from the Life Principles Bible By Charles F. Stanley.

(Copyright 2011 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.)