In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I Have Liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.
And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match.
A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I Have Betrayed."
The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I Have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed At." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've Yelled at My Brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger," "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped.
I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my 20 years to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.
When I pulled out the file marked "Songs I Have Listened To," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.
When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.
An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: "No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it
Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.
And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.
But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus.
I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one?
Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me.
Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.
"No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.
He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."
I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Romans 616 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. 17 Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. 18 Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. 19 Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. 21 And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. 22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.There is so much to talk about in these passages of scripture. The main point that I see is that there is no escaping this fact: we are slaves. We are either slaves to sin or to Christ; slaves to death or life. Death is merely the absence of life. Jesus said He is the way, the truth, and the LIFE. Take away Jesus (the life) and you're left with death.When we live life our own way and leave God out of it we are making a huge mistake. We become slaves of sin. If you don't believe me, just be honest and ask yourself this question: has there ever been something in your life that you have struggled with but you can't seem to overcome it? For example, you don't want to start a relationship with someone because deep in your heart you know that person is no good for you, but you do it anyways and end up getting hurt. God has a better plan. Become His slave. Being a slave may not sound appealing, but there is no way around it. Why not choose to be a slave of the Master who will never force His will on you? This is on a volunteer basis. If you choose to be His slave, you must live by His rules.... This post got really long. I may have to do a 2nd part to continue with the rest of the wonderful truths found in Romans 6
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
"When I win the lottery, I will be able to do everything I've ever wanted to do." This was a conversation between a friend and I. This friend has played the lottery for a long time now: every Wednesday and Saturday for the past years to be exact. I couldn't help but feel a bit sad. It was so easy to see that his hopes and dreams rested on guessing a series of numbers in order to win millions of dollars. Well, what if he never wins? He would have spent so much time, money, and effort for nothing. His dreams and happiness rest on him becoming rich by winning the lottery. What is he does win? Statistics show that most people who win the lottery spend it all within the first few years. He will be able to travel the world and buy pretty much whatever he wants; but then what? Is that really what life is about? People who place their hope in money just end up being let down. I was never a millionaire, but my parents were good stewards of their money. We had a good life; nice car, nice house, nice family trips. All of a sudden these things were gone. My parents divorced, we lost the house, and we ended up living with my uncle. We went from being a middle class family to a low class family. I learned the hard way that money comes and goes. So many people's dreams and happiness depend on money. Just turn on the radio and you will hear a bunch of songs about money and material things. My happiness and joy does not rest on something as unstable and temporary as money. I can't help but think of my life verse to help illustrate what has been my key to happiness and satisfaction: Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.