I stood, leaning against the railing as I looked out across the grounds. People were walking around, visiting and just enjoying their time together. But as I stood looking, I noticed something very odd. Some of the ones I observed were walking around in beautiful, clean clothes. These walked with their heads up and looked around them enjoying the wonders that were there to see. They looked healthy, free from sickness, and whole. But, there were others among them who were quite the puzzle to me. These others were barely covered by filthy rags, they stumbled into things as they walked, and they were thin and sickly and covered with oozing sores. What puzzled me so was that these who were in such a sad condition appeared to have no awareness that they were in such a state. They mingled among the others and carried on as though everything were fine – as much as was possible in their condition.
In my amazement, I descended the stairs and walked up to one of these sickly individuals and talked to her a while. I was stunned to find her talking about her great health, and her fine clothes, and the blessings of her life. When I tried to point out to her that she was covered in sores and filth and that her clothes were but rags, she denied it and insisted that she was in perfect health and her clothing was of the finest quality. I wanted to help her, but, how? How do you show someone their condition?
As I walked among the people, I saw one of the healthy ones standing by, and I went over to talk to him. As I stood there conversing, I mentioned the others, the ones who were so sickly and in such poor health. With tears in his eyes, he told me that he too saw what I could see, and it troubled him greatly. He, too, had tried to express to these individuals the great need that was there, but there was so little response that he was beginning to be discouraged. He pointed out to me a room nearby, where clothes were hanging in abundance – good quality, attractive, and free for the taking. Also in this room was stored everything necessary to bind up wounds and heal sores, and bathing supplies. This room was next to a great hall that had a well stocked kitchen. Standing near the window, I sniffed the breeze and smelled all sorts of fabulous odors – wonderful food. A sign on the door said, “Come on in… all you can eat all the time… no charge…”
As I climbed up the stairs back to my former post of observation, I wondered to myself at these things. Leaning against the rail once more, I looked out, and the scene changed. It was just a hot muggy summer day, and the people were milling around and visiting between services. As I looked on the crowd, it seemed I heard these words in my mind – a verse of scripture learned long ago:
“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me…” (Revelation 3:17-20)
I pondered the meaning of the verses and the strange thing that I had just seen, and it caused me to examine myself and cry out to God for those sickly souls. As I prayed, I came to understand that these sickly souls who could not see their sad condition were souls who had a form of religion, but whose relationship with God wasn’t what it should be. I prayed that they would heed the chastening of God and draw closer to him. I prayed that they would let him heal the wounds in their lives and open their eyes, that they could see the beautiful things of God. I prayed that they would discover that wonderful source of food for the soul and be drawn there to sup with God.
Have you ever thought about the Laodecian age – the age that we understand we’re living in? This letter to that church should cause us to sit up and take notice. How are things with us? Are we overlooking our own sad spiritual condition? Do we think we’re rich and increased with goods, but really exist in a poor, pitiful state? Think about that spiritually…is your soul flourishing, or are you barely eking out an existence from scraps that you pick up in the rushed daily devotion time? Are you really taking time to build your relationship with God? Are you sitting and visiting with him daily, or is he standing outside your door knocking while you give him lip service? How’s your spiritual life? How’s your relationship with God? Is he near and dear to you, or is he getting the scraps of your day?
My goodness, this gave me chills. It is so well written that I felt like I was there. I could just feel the passion and emotion behind the first person. As Christians, may our hearts break for what breaks His heart.... as you have so beautifully communicated.