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The Room....

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There
were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index
card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject
in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and
seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings.

As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read
"Girls I have liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly
shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.

And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with
its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions
of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match.

A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began
randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet
memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my
shoulder to see if anyone was watching.

A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I have betrayed." The
titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies
I Have Told," "Comfort I have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed at." Some were
almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've yelled at my brothers". Others I
couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger", "Things I Have Muttered
Under My Breath at My Parents."

I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards
than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer
volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to
write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed
this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting.

Each signed with my signature. When I pulled out the file marked "Songs I have
listened to," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were
packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the
file. I shut it, ashamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast
amount of time I knew that file represented.

When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body.
I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I
shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been
recorded. An almost animal rage broke on me.

One thought dominated my mind: "No one must ever see these cards! No one must
ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In insane frenzy I yanked the file out.
Its size didn't mattered now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it
at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I
became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I
tried to tear it. Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot.

Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then
I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was
brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a
small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the
cards it contained on one hand.

And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that the hurt started in
my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of
shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in
my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up
and hide the key.

But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here.
Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and
read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I
could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He
seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one?

Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with
pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head,
covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put
His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word.
He just cried with me.

Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the
room, He took out a file and one by one, began to sign His name over mine on
each card. "No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no,"
as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there
it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive.

The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. He gently took
the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think
I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I
heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on
my shoulder and said, "It is finished."

I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There
were still cards to be written.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil. 4:13

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Entire contents copyright © 1999 - 2007 by Patrick Kelly, All rights reserved.
All content is presented on behalf of Shepherd’s Care Ministries. Shepherd's Care Ministries reserves no right or claim upon content.

Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018