Wednesday, November 14, 2012

COME IN!

They stood at the door, gazing inside the banquet hall. A sense of inadequacy washed over both. They felt so out of place in their dirty jeans and faded shirts. Tossled hair and dark circles beneath their eyes made them even more self-counscious.

"We should get out of here," the young man whispered as he took his wife's hand.

"Just one more minute? It's all so beautiful. And it's warm in here. It's going to be freezing outside." Her pleading expression spoke louder than her hushed words.

"Okay, but just a minute. Then we're going. I don't want someone seeing us, and asking us to leave." He put a protective arm around his young bride. There was little else he could do. Times were hard. With no work, they'd lost their apartment. And the few possessions they'd managed to keep had disappeared while they slept at a shelter the night before.

Both stared longingly at the contents and people filling the room. Candlelight and exquisite floral arrangements made the atmosphere so welcoming and inviting. Music, laughter, and jovial conversations poured from the room and into the hallway. Every face was smiling, and all were dressed in elegant attire. China plates were piled high with foods they could only imagine tasting. But the aromas wafting into the hall were enough to give them a "taste" of what they were missing.   

"Everything looks so good," she sighed. A server brushed by them, his platter nearly empty, but not quite. She saw her chance and grabbed it, not caring what her husband would say. "Excuse me, are those extras?" She ignored the tighter grip of her husband, knowing he would give her an earful after they left the hotel. She didn't care. It looked too good. And she hadn't eaten in over twelve hours.

"Sure, help yourselves." The server handed them two plates piled high with a colorful array of tasty morsels.

"This isn't right. What if they catch us?" The young man looked over his shoulder nervously.

The server chuckled at his response. "Relax. No one is going to mind. In fact, there's a table to the right when you go through the door, and it's empty. Go sit down. Enjoy."

"You're kidding! They don't want the likes of us in there, mingling with those rich people. They'd kick us out!" Clearly the server was new, and didn't understand the ways of the world yet.

But the server smiled at the man. He knew something this couple didn't. "Go, Sit down. Trust me. This is a banquet to raise money for the homeless. If anything, you'll be the guests of honor. Go! Sit. Enjoy yourselves."

Clutching their dinner plates, the two looked at each other, then into the banquet hall. "Come on, dear. We'll sit over here." He led his wife to a dark corner in the hallway.

"But the server said we could go in," she responded.

"Look at us. We don't belong in there. Come on. At least we have food. And we've got a warm spot to sit. Maybe they'll have mercy on us and let us sleep here tonight...since it IS a banquet to raise money for us homeless people."

They sat on the plush carpet and ate their meals in silence. It tasted so delicious. When had they eaten like this? She couldn't remember. She was glad for the food, and for the refuge from the cold. But what about tomorrow? And the day after that? Why them? Why were they the ones in the hallway? Why couldn't they be among those who were enjoying the festivities in the banquet hall?

With full stomachs and a wall to lean against, they huddled together and closed their eyes. The distant murmurs of the party lulled them to sleep.

We may not be homeless, but many of us find ourselves just like this couple. We are standing at the door, gazing in at a life of beauty, splendor, purpose, fulfillment. And we can see it all before us. Because the doors are wide open ~ to all the glory, majesty, healing, deliverance, transformation, and freedom. We see it, and we acknowledge it. But we only stand at the doors looking in, as if that is sufficient...or out of fear we don't belong. Instead of going in, we hold back, choosing to stay in the familiar where we feel safer.

If only we'd take that first step, and walk through those doors. The joy that would greet us...the peace that would flood us! It's ours. If we want it. We only need to take that step of faith, and walk through the door.

"Enter in. Come," He says. "Don't be afraid. Don't be shy. Don't believe the lies that you don't belong. Come in! Look at all I have for you. What are you waiting for? Come in!"

"O taste and see that the Lord (Our God) is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him." 
~Psalm 34:8, Amplified Version

"Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best. God finds it hard to give, because He would give the best and man will not take it."
~George McDonald

"An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as full as if there were no others."
~A. W. Tozer

"Only God can fully satisfy the hungry heart of man."
~Hugh Black

"God does not come to us in nicely defined, rationally explained, thought categories. God does not fit Himself into our theological text books. The Hebrew God breaks all the rules. He is near, yet transcendent; clothed in human form, yet holy; more terrifying than can be imagined, yet compassionate; invisible, yet revealed; judging, yet merciful; sovereign, yet humble. No matter where you look, God breaks the molds."
~Skip Moen
                 

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