Monday, February 7, 2011

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock..."

A Reflection on Answering God's Call

In the years 1853-54, an English painter named Holman Hunt spent many late nights in a farm shed, working on a painting he would entitle "The Light of the World." It pictures Jesus, crowned with thorns and holding a lantern, knocking on a door overgrown with vines. Hunt explained that the painting is an allegory of Christ's words in Revelation 3:20: ""Behold, I stand at the door and knock," says Christ. "If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and will dine with him, and he with me."

The painting was a huge success. In later years, Holman painted a life-sized version which was taken on a world tour in the late 19th century. It drew crowds wherever it went and inspired much popular devotion. Most viewers of the work are struck by the striking chiaroscuro, the play of shadows and light. But the artist himself felt the need to point out an important piece of symbolism nearly fifty years after completing the painting. Its the door. Look closely and you'll realize that there is no handle on the outside. It's absence is purposeful for the door, like our hearts, can only be opened from the inside. Christ wants to "dine with us" and he wants us to follow his will for us. But he will never force his way in. We must answer the soft knocking at the door.

What are you gonna do with the rest of your life? Many of you who are in college are asking that very question. Regardless of your major, it is inevitable that most of you will enter into a crisis of purpose - a time where you sincerely wonder what you are being called by God to do. But as cliche as it may sound, it is true that God has a plan for you. Seriously. You must only listen to his call and allow yourself to follow his direction.

And let's be clear here. Quite separate from your career or your occupation, I'm speaking of your vocation - your calling from God. What is God calling you to do? Have you asked him in earnest prayer? Have you responded to his answer?

Be attentive to God's call. Christ is knocking and he will lead you. Answer in faith.