A carpenter built a grand and glorious house. Every element, from concrete and shingles, fixture and faucet, tongue and groove, was specifically chosen and masterfully worked.
He invited people to live in it with him. Some welcomed the carpenter and enjoyed their lives together while others completely ignored his existence.
In some ways, the people took care of the house. In many other ways they did not, nor did they take care of each other.
Trouble continued to escalate until, finally, someone took a match to one of the curtains. It smoldered at first, but quickly the fire spread until the couch, rug, the whole room was engulfed in flames. The fire began to march through the house, room by room.
The people avoided the burning rooms but still remained inside the house. They felt protected in the other rooms, convinced the fire would never reach them. Until it did.
Some believed there was nothing beyond the house and awaited their fate. Others argued that there had to be more than one way out. How could a loving carpenter design only one way out of the house?
Amidst the molten metal and cracking beams the carpenter shouted, “I built this house with my own hands. I know every nail, screw, and sanded place. I designed it so we could live together. I am here in the house with you. I always have been. But now it’s burning down and you will only get out if you come with me. I am the way. All you have to do is acknowledge you need me and ask me to help you. I don’t want anyone lost in the flames, but I can’t lead those who won’t follow.”
Did you catch it, my favorite word?
As in, accompanied by.
The carpenter has a name – Emmanuel, which means God WITH Us.
Always together. Never alone.
Not God Far Off and Directing. Not God Standing Over and Barking Orders. But God In the Midst of Hell WITH YOU. God Who Will Never Abandon You. God As Close As You Will Let Him Be.
God wants to be WITH us. It’s what The Father planned in the Garden of Eden. It’s what the New Heaven and New Earth are all about.
It’s Jesus, God with skin, God with us, the perfect example, The Way.
It’s the Holy Spirit INSIDE us. You can’t get any more WITH than that.
Those who want more than one way out are missing the point. It’s not about how to get out of the house, it’s about how to get with the carpenter.
Why? Because he loves you. He loves us all.
#heisnotwhatyouthink #thepowerofwith #bethelove
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