Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
Do you ever wonder what your dreams mean? I had one last night. Maybe you will see in it what I see.
Several old friends of mine, including one pastor, were planning to get-together and hold a meeting. This gathering would be both a chance to celebrate seeing one another again, and serve a distinctly Christian purpose. It may have been worship, BIble study, prayer, or any and all the above.
Initiated by the pastor, the invitation was a call to fellowship. Everyone invited was a follower of Christ Jesus. Numbered among us were musicians, teachers, artists, writers, and a nurse. I was excited to go!
We were asked to wear formal attire. For the women, that meant full-length gowns. This also sounded fun. With every intention to attend, I waited until only a few days before the event to look for suitable clothes.
Once I realized the shortage of time, my attitude sank almost immediately into self-pity. “It’s not my fault I don’t have a gown. I’ve been busy. It’s easy for everyone else.”
Laziness followed. “The right kind of dress is at the store, I should go buy one. Nah, that’s too much trouble. Besides, home is so comfortable. I want to stay until it is necessary to leave.”
Then came blame. “He (the pastor) shouldn’t be asking so much. Shame on him for making it difficult. Maybe I won’t go just to spite him.”
Self-doubt was close behind. “Nancy, this is your fault. You won’t find a nice dress now, nothing will be good enough. You are the one who ought to feel ashamed.”
I ran to my closet. Maybe something would do. A brown, denim-like skirt caught my eye. It was very old and faded. For a moment I considered piecing it into a homemade gown. Nothing else matched it, and it was too ugly anyway.
Time was running out. Rationalizing began.
“What could be so important we have to dress-up? I’m smarter than to fall for that silly idea. I’ll just show up in jeans.” Fear I would be rejected at the door nixed that idea.
“It’s going to be a stupid get-together. I don’t need to be there. No one will care. I’ve got too much to do here anyway.” With a shrug and defeatist mindset, I chose not to go.
Using a metaphor, Jesus described the gathering of his followers in heaven as a banquet. Everyone is invited. The dress code is white robes. Some invitees said they were too busy. One showed up without a white robe and was sent away.
No amount of searching among our belongings will produce such a robe. Our best options are old, faded, and dirty. Nothing of our past or present qualifies us for eternal life with God.
Where is hope then? It is in the sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus. When we surrender our will, and take him in as Savior and Lord, our inner selves are figuratively washed clean by his blood. He is the only one who gives away these “white robes.” He already purchased them – they are ours for the asking.
A songwriter once wrote, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Indeed, I hope we count our days rightly and understand their brevity.
Today is the day to drop our excuses. He is coming back soon.
Today’s Helpful Word