By: Amy Dalke
Let’s pretend that I’ve invited you over to my house. (We’ll stick with coffee or tea, since you’re wise to be leery of any homemade goods.)
If you visit on any normal kind of day, you are likely to make a few observations before you even cross the threshold:
–You might discover that we have a child who wears size 4 tennis shoes. (The evidence will be right before your eyes, regardless of the time of day or which door you enter.)
–You’ll figure out that this child plays a lot of indoor basketball and baseball, since you have to step over at least four balls on your way into the living room.
–And you’ll find that we have the two fattest cats in the entire world. (These cats are living, everyday reminders for me that I need to think a thing through before making big decisions.) (Because I discovered years ago, that I like kittens. But not cats. And that’s a story for another day.)
Aside from the obvious physical state of our house, I wonder how you would describe the spiritual temperature of our home.
Loaded question, right?
I want my home to be warm with peace, love, and graceful comfort. But it doesn’t always happen quite like that. My house can be radiant with joy one day, only to be thick with restless, stressed-out chaos the next. One minute, the air is ripe with a calm contentment; the next, it’s been chilled by the icy bite of hurtful words.
It doesn’t even matter which day of the week you drop by. I love Sundays and all, but not even the Sabbath day is exempt from a temperature drop in these parts. Because there is often no greater tension that arises when certain family members wait until 9:10am to get dressed for church that starts at 9:30.
(I’m not calling names, but let me just say that these certain people wouldn’t have survived my childhood. Because preachers really shouldn’t be late, and their children know better than to create that kind of strife.) But I digress.
Regardless of the who, what, or when, the overall difference in my home environment on any given day really just depends on who is running the show: me or Jesus.
There’s a story in Mark 1:29-32 that got me started on this whole thought process about the spiritual atmosphere in my home.
This passage takes place after church one day, where Jesus and his recently recruited disciples, visit the house of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick, and Jesus hadn’t been in the house long enough to trip over a basketball (or a fat cat), before the family members spoke to him about her.
Here’s how Jesus responded (verse 31): “And He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them.”
In 90 Days With The One & Only, Beth Moore says this about the situation:
“Christ could have healed her [Simon’s mother-in-law] from the front porch. But he didn’t. He came to her and drew down close…He involved himself one-on-one with those he helped.”
Just like Jesus drew near to stand over Simon’s sick mother-in-law, we don’t hang back and wish our children well from afar when they’re sick. We go to them, wrap our arms around them, and do everything within our power to care for them until they feel better again.
In addition to all sorts of physical illness, our homes can groan with the aches and pains born from bitterness, unforgiveness, unfaithfulness, adultery, addictions, struggles with pornography, and various other forms of emotional bondage.
While it isn’t common these days for a doctor to show up at our door when we have a fever, Jesus still makes house calls. He loves us so much that he comes near. He makes his home with us, and tends to every hurt, every pain, every heartache.
The good thing is, we don’t have to clean up before we let him in. But we do have to open the door, because he won’t barge into our mess unless he’s invited.
And the most awesome thing ever? Jesus already knows what we look like behind these four walls, but he still stands at the door and knocks anyway.
He is near. And he brings hope.
So what will you do with that?