Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The House of My Heart

One day when I really understood what Jesus Christ had done for me, I invited Him to come into the house of my heart. As soon as I invited Him, He came....without hesitation. And when He was there, He filled the house with joy.
When everything was settled, I said, "I hope you will stay and feel perfectly at home here". He said," I'm sure I will. And now since we are friends, why don't you show me around? I would like very much to see the library in the house of your heart".
Now, in my house, the library is very small and has very thick walls and is filled with everything I have read: books, magazines, news articles; everything I have seen such as TV shows, movies, plays, all of the Sunday school lessons I have listened to. Also, all of the lectures, sermons I have attended. They are all there in the library. And His eyes gazed over all of the things that were on the shelf. I was a little embarrassed that there was so much trivia there. I wished that more scriptures and church books were on the shelf for Him to see. I suggested to Him that maybe I could stand a bit of renovation in this room. He agreed and that maybe He and I together couldadd more worthwhile things to the library. The library you see is very important. It is the room which is the study, so to speak, of the mind-a sort of controlroom, for the whole house. It affects the 'lighting', the shading of everything else in the inner home of our mind.
Then, He said He would like to see the dining room, so I took Him in. This is the room of appetites and desires. It is stacked with all kinds of boxes and things and I told Him I was always hungry, but that I never seemed satisfied. He told me that it was because I was eating the wrong things. "If you diet as I do, you will never feel hunger for I live on the word of the Lord, Our Father in Heaven. Then He offered me a taste of it and it was delicious. I agreed with Him that this alone satisfied me and that I now knew I would spend less time in the dining room now that He was a huest in the house of my heart.
Next, He asked if He could see my workshop. I had a workshop in the basement. We went down and looked at the workbench and saw all of the talents and skills that were there. But I hadn't really used it to produce much. I had gadgets and trinkets and half-finished projects but nothing really of great value. I said,"Well, if I wasn't quite so busy, maybe I could do better. I know all the tools are here, but I am awkward and clumsy and I really don't know how to use them." He said," Would you like t be able to use the tools in your workshop?" I exclaimed, "Oh, yes! Would you help me?" He was delighted that I asked. So, He stood behind me and put His great, powerful hands over mine and guided them and He showed me how to use the tools in the workshop. With His sure guidance, directing my hands, I marvelled at the work of art that came out. I cried, "Now that you have helped me, I am going to come into the workshop often and this will be a fun room to come to. Will you always help me?" He said soberly, "Yes, if I am invited, but I never come unless I am invited."
Next, I took Him to my drawing room. This is a small, quiet, peaceful place in my heart for deep thinking and meditation. He seemed pleased with it and comfortable there. He said,"Let's meet here often, at least twice a day. We can have long talks together and you can tell me all about your activities and ambitions, and problems. We'll talk it over together everyday." I thought that that sounded wonderful. So, I made an appointment with Him everyday that I would do that .... and I did, at first, faithfully. But, then I got so busy and sometimes I would forget to come in the morning, and somethimes I would forget at night. Then days and days would go by and we never had a talk at all. Now, it wasn't that I didn't want to talk to Him. It was just that I was so busy....
One day, as I started my busy day, I noticed Him standing in the doorway of the drawing room. I said, "Have you been waitng there every morning for me?""Yes", He replied. I said sheepishly, "You are a guest in my house and I have neglected you and I am sorry'. I had called on Him when I was in need to come and help me and He always came. That was about the way I used Him. When things went well, I didn't think we needed to chat as much as we did when things were bad. I had decided that it had been a very one-sided relationship and I also realized that He missed me.
"I have so many projects and so many things that need to be done. I could use a friend like you. For example, I have no money in the world at all. I only have yours to use. Would you let me use some of yours?" "Yes, of course", I said. "And there are people I want to help. Could I send you to represent me. Would you do that?""Yes, I could do that", I said. And so I went and I experienced great joy in this.
After awhile, I became rebellious and I exclaimed, "YOu demand too much of me." This was not a nice way to treat a guest. He gently showed me,"The nature of my projects benefits all, including you. Perhaps not monetarily, but nonetheless, you grow and deepen as you abide my will."I saw this and was ashamed. Everything I did benefitted me as well as those I was serving and not Him personally. I had misunderstood His work. So, I continued to do His work.
Then one day, He queried me about a locked closet in the house of my heart. "Although you have let me go into every room in the house, this door has always been locked." I was very reluctant to let him have access to this closet. "I cannot stay in this house if you do not give me the key to the closet", He said seriously. And He left.
I was sad and in great despair. Depression came over me. You see, once having Him as a guest in my home, my life became unbearable without Him. I went down on my knees and tearfully pleaded with Him to come back. I promised to give Him the key. "I will withold nothing from you. I cannot stand to live without you in my home".
So, I gave Him the key and He opened it. Then, quickly and efficiently, He cleaned out those things that were dead and rotten that I wanted to ignore. Memories of past hurts and offenses were swept out. Misunderstandings were fumigated with His word. He made it clean and it could be unlocked now for it was clean. "Now, I see only a house that is completely acceptable to me", He proclaimed. "I have cleared out so many closets, but it's a strange thing, I never remember afterwards what was in them." He smiled and embraced me. I felt peace.
A thought suddenly came to me. I turned to Him and exclaimed,"I wonder, could you be the owner of the house of my heart? I could be the guest and sort of servant and we could switch places. Instead of me calling on you to help me with my life, you can call on me to help you, use me in any way you will because I trust you completely. Is it possible?" "Why yes, this is my plan for you". So, I ran and got the deed to my house and I signed it over to Him and I said, " It is yours. It belongs to you and I withold nothing from you."
After I gave Him the deed, He immediately started remodling the house of my heart. He was the architect, the planner, the builder and told me that eventually we would have a magnificent structure in the world which we would build together. He remodled. He was the master of the house and I was the servant. I did whatever He bid of me. There were times when clouds came and gathered around the house-war, hate, and sin and they beat on the house and demanded entry. But, because He was the Lord of this house, it had a firm foundation and His protection. None of these things were allowed to enter. Inside, I reside in peace. warmth and tranquility regardless of what is outside.
He told me as time went on that He would move my house to another city. He would take care of all of the arrangements. I wouldn't even have to know the day it would take place, or when. He said that I would be in a city where He held the deeds of all of the houses. There would be no storms or darkness and I would like the neighbors better. I look back now so long ago to when I first invited Christ to come into the house of my heart. First as a guest and then gave Him the deed to this life of mine. I wondered why I had been so stingy and had reluctantly wanted to turn it over. He has showered me with gifts and has taken care of all my needs, all of the remodling of my character so that I resemble Him. And I was always the debtor.

By Darren Butterfield (revised by Miss Rumphius who taught college English and knows how to bring out the beauty of this piece)