In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2-3)
THERE WAS NO ROOM for Mary and Joseph in the inn and I’ve wondered how deeply they felt the rejection, even though they knew God was going to provide for them. One of the most intense feelings of the human spirit is acceptance and rejection by other people. Have you ever gone through a time when you felt like there was not enough room for you, that you were not wanted?
I’VE WRITTEN ABOUT THIS BEFORE, but I feel it is time to look at it again. For me, the first experience of the feeling of rejection was when I was almost six and school would start soon. My Aunt Esther (mother’s sister) was taking me from Medlock Hollow to visit with her and Uncle Ed Ramsey in Nashville, TN for two weeks. It was a plush trip in her black, smooth-riding, quiet, six-cylinder ‘36 Dodge.
I WAS ACCUSTOMED TO GRANDPA'S '29 MODEL A FORD that was built to get you from Point A to Point B on four cylinders…not so smooth. Dad liked better cars than this but had lost his nice V/8 Ford coupe in a bank swoop during the Great Depression that relieved us of our sawmill, steam boiler, lumber truck, and Dad’s prize Ford V/8.
WE HAD PLENTY TO EAT but Medlock had none of the niceties of electric lights, refrigerator, or turn-a-knob stove in the kitchen. I was going to Nashville where there was…everything! They could pick up the phone and order me a popsicle that would be delivered by a Harley tricycle that had a dry-ice compartment for ice cream. Movies? They had movies in the park after dark. Swimming pool? They had the big Cascade Plunge where you could wet your toes or dive from ten feet high at the deep end. At six, I was still “a toe man” at the shallow end.
BUT, ON OUR WAY TO NASHVILLE "GLORY LAND," I was in the back seat and the conversation in the front seat between Aunt Esther and my cousin, Anna Price was waay over my head. My efforts to break into the conversation got nowhere and suddenly I realized: “I’m a bother to them; they don’t really care anything about me; they don’t even know I’m with them, and I’ve got two weeks of being ignored like this. I am in sad shape. I should have stayed in Medlock Hollow where I belong and let them go on home to Nashville where they belong in that strange place. They don’t have a horse or a dog.” I was…. home sick! And it wasn’t even dark yet. A six-year-old needs familiar turf.
SINCE THAT DAY, “feeling lonely” dredges up that afternoon in the back seat of the ’36 Dodge. So much of life is based on how we were shaped in our first six years. I later read about it in the psychology books that made it official. Feeling left out is a real thing with a lot of people. The good side of the “Dodge incident” was the lesson that sometimes the answer is to: “get outta Dodge.”
I GOT TONSILLITIS AND ASKED AUNT ESTHER how much longer before I could go home. The next week, I told Aunt Esther: “If I could find my way out of here I would just walk home.” (125 miles) Aunt Esther was amused. I wasn’t amused. She told people about this until I was grown.
I DECIDED ON THAT TRIP, that in this life I would not hang around where I’m not wanted. “It’s their bad luck if they don’t know how wonderful I am.” (Later, I learned that I was petted to death and got an undue amount of attention in Medlock. There were other people in the world besides me, but that was a later lesson.)
GOD KNOWS ABOUT OUR LONGING FOR HOME and writes about it in His book. When Israel was hauled off to Babylon in captivity, they were got homesick. In our verses for today, Jesus says He’s going to fix the home problem. “Home” is a wonderful word that goes deep. Even dogs, cats and birds know about home. At night, the chickens come home to roost. In baseball and softball, we run to home base and hopefully make a “home run.” Jesus said: …The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. (Mat 8:20)
WE NEED BREATH AND WE NEED HOME. The homeless people in our streets usually don’t move around from day to day. They stake out a place and go there at night. If it’s under a bridge, in a cardboard box, they will make a nest of sort and claim it, defend it against intrusion. The few belongings they have will be stashed there. If they are sick, they will die there. It’s “the place” that’s so important.
SURVEY AFTER SURVEY SHOWS THE SAME THING: the number-one thing that may draw people back to church next week is a feeling of genuine welcome. Cracker Barrel’s firm policy is to greet everyone who comes in the front door. Many other stores do the same. They know. We’re all sensitive about having a place, about feeling welcome.
JESUS SAID HE WOULD PREPARE A PLACE FOR US. We need a place. We will not be roaming all over Heaven when we get there. We will have our place in Heaven. Jesus has been working on our place in Heaven for two thousand years. It must be a good place and prepared just right. We won’t be disappointed.
WE WILL HAVE A PLACE and we will have a person, His Person. He will receive us there unto Himself. Jehovah God said: Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his Saints. (Psalm116:15). He sees every sparrow that falls and are we not worth as much to Him as a sparrow?
GOD'S INVITATION IS TO ALL. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Mat 11:28) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mar 16:15) When someone rejects our message of salvation, we must to say to ourselves: ”He’s one of the creatures we’re supposed to preach the gospel to.” An inner voice says: “Be patient. I died for this person. There’s plenty good room in the Father’s House. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
October 28, 2019 – MONDAY
A.M. Jeremiah 23-24 P.M. 2Timothy 2
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Great Verses to Memorize:
Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons; (Deuteronomy 4:9)
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7
Song For Today:
Acapella Mixed Quartet: Plenty Good Room (4:22) (Breath of Life Quartet 1975)
(I learned this song from the Eureka Jubilee Singers at Highland Park Baptist Church about 1955.) They are no longer on the University of Iowa website. The best version of the song is by a SDA group, 45 years ago.
(Wait several seconds. You may have to delete an ad.)