Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. –John 14:6
Heat from the fire battled streams of cold air pushing through the window gaps of her family’s old house, but the wood in the fire was dry, and the stones of the fireplace were gradually warming the air around them. Rain echoed from the attic, so conversation was sparse. At least they had lights. Lyla shivered and tightened the afghan around her shoulders.
It was, as Snoopy would say, “a dark and stormy night.”
The family retreated to their rooms. There was nothing to do but go to bed early. Afghan still draped over her shoulders, Lyla checked the deadbolt once more and reached to switch off the lights. But she touched the wrong switch and turned on the porch light instead.
Lyla’s yard was filled with
sopping-wet, shivering souls.
In that moment before she could turn the light off, movement caught her eye. Her smooth front lawn, typically dotted by a few trees, was filled with sopping-wet, shivering people—fifty, at least. Some looked toward the light, some scurried away. Lyla didn’t hesitate. True to her nature, she threw the door open wide and screamed against the wind, “Come in here! It’s dry and warm!”
Maybe five people turned to look. Two stepped toward her. Lyla screamed again. She grabbed the biggest umbrella in the crock and struggled outside. One at a time, she got a person’s attention and pointed toward the door. One at a time, she invited them inside.
Some people chose to stay
out in the cold and rain.
But some people refused. They crossed their arms and shook their heads, splattering rainwater under Lyla’s umbrella. Some people chose a miserable, sleepless night in the cold and rain over a warm fire, a clean blanket, and rest.
Finally, with her shoes soaked through and her nose turning blue, Lyla stumbled back across her threshold. She closed the door, locked the deadbolt, and turned off the porch light. But she lingered by the door for just a minute, hoping just one more shivering person might knock.
The rain continued to beat on the roof.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem …how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. –Matthew 23:37
You were not willing.
Christ-followers are sometimes criticized for being exclusionary, for saying there’s only one way into heaven (that is, through Jesus). But anyone God calls can come into heaven that way. It was not Lyla’s prejudice that excluded some people while including others. She was as inclusive as a person can be. All she asked was that people go into her home through the door. They chose to enter or remain outside.
God gave me this image in my quiet time a couple of weeks ago. It’s not a statement on predestination. Y’all know I ride the fence on that one. I think, however, it’s a good answer for those who say Christianity is not inclusive. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
Has God given you a helpful image, drawn from Scripture? You can share the image in the comments or just leave a link to where it’s already published. I’d love to read those!