Over the weekend we had a friend of one of the boys visit us. This was his second visit and he seems to enjoy our home—-dysfunctional as it is. He watches how we have our meals together, wrestle, debate, make plans for the following day and even as we have one of our daily “meltdown” rituals and seems to want to be a part. Strange as it sounds, he seems to want to visit more and more.
I have been to a few places like that in my life—-places I really did not want to ever leave. It was not only the climate, but the ambiance, the people, the food, the entertainment—-but also there was something going on in my life that was yearning for change—-for newness, freshness and something “else”.
The Psalmist talks about a place like this—-God’s “temple”—-we refer to it as “heaven”. Surely, it must be a place like this young man yearns for in his heart of hearts and it must be the ultimate place that my soul pines after also! A place where everything makes sense, is fair, is transparent and free from what is bad. Where all the people are kind…generous… gentle. This place, the one we all hope for is a dwelling where all our fears will be removed and all our confusion explained. The older I get the readier I am to enter into that place.
But who will be in this “dream place”—His house— one day? And if possible, who can begin to experience the bliss of living in His house right now? Only those that REALLY WANT IT, it appears. It’s for those that look, seek, knock and ask for it diligently. It’s not something we are born desiring….it’s not a passion we inherit from our parents….we don’t catch the yearning just be going to church each Sunday.
In Luke 13 we are told that someone asked Jesus: “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
Now why would Jesus say something like this? Why did He not say that there was plenty of room in heaven and most folks will eventually make it?? What He said makes the Kingdom of God sound “exclusive” and suggests that it takes a lot of effort and work to “get your citizenship” there! But I think He is not talking about us being good enough, but rather more the damage the fall has brought to the hearts of men. Many might want to go to heaven, but most are unwilling to call Him Lord. A lot of the folks that fill the churches all over the world have heard about Him and believe in Him, but unwilling to “kneel down” and enter through that narrow door. The Kingdom of God is not for good people, they have no need for God and don’t look for Him. God has made homes in heaven for bad people, like me, that realize just how hopeless our lives and our destiny is without Him. I want to dwell in His house more than anything else. And so I shall—-not because of how good I am, but because I admit my utter depravity outside of Him and the deepest desire of my heart to live with Him forever.
This is what we hope to share with bad girls and boys—-and bad women and men. That’s why the church exists—-and our little camp.
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