Wrong Side of the Gate

Our bus arrived at the deserted clinic building in the small village.  There was a tall fence with a gate surrounding the building.  A long line of little children with parents or grandparents was forming inside the fence in the hot sun.  Their faces were expectant.  Their clothing was worn and tattered.  They didn’t have much.  But they had smiles.  They had excitement.  And they had some anxiety.  What would this be like?  Was it going to be all they had anticipated?

We made our way through the crowd and into the building.  Some volunteers were already there.  The bags of clothing and toys were spread around in different areas.  Several of us took a spot near each collection of bags.  Each bag had a tag.  A child’s name and their age was printed on the tag.  Our job was to match the bag with the child as their name was called.  They entered the building one at a time, searching for the team who had their bag.  I imagined what it must have been like for them.  A child, small, young, maybe shy, frightened, walking into a building they’d probably never been in, looking at a group of strangers, mostly adults, who had light-colored skin and spoke a different language, in hopes of finding something good in that bag they held out to them.  Surely that memory would be burned into the pages of their mind forever. 

One by one the bags were handed out.  We’d open the bag and show them what was inside, communicating mostly with smiles and gestures.  “Para ti!”  “It’s for YOU!”  we’d tell them.  Included was a set of new clothes, shoes, a coloring book explaining the plan of salvation and the great gift of God’s love, a toy, personal toiletries.  We’d show them briefly how to use the toothbrush.  “Ah!”  They would nod.  Many would put their new shoes on right away.  Then we’d put their things back in their bag and send them on their happy way with a hug and a smile.

The clothes were certain to fit.  Dress a Child has a great system in place.  They come to the village a few weeks ahead of time and go door to door getting measurements of the children and telling them where and when to gather to get their things.  What a wonderful gift!

As we left the area on the bus my daughter turned to me and said, “Mom, did you see those people on the outside of the gate?  Those were the people who didn’t believe them.  They thought it was all a trick.  They wouldn’t let them take measurements.  Now their kids don’t get a bag.  Wouldn’t that feel awful?”

I looked down at my daughter.  “And that, my dear, is the story of salvation.  That is heaven.  Wouldn’t it be awful to be on the outside looking in, knowing that it could have been yours if only you’d let Jesus in?  If only you’d believed Him?  He’s coming back and He’s got a whole lot more waiting for us than a bag of toys and clothes.”

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”  Revelation 3:20

“Dear God, I open wide my door.  Come in, take measurements, and fit me for Your kingdom today.”

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2 Comments

  1. This is fantastic. Perfect. You are so right, that’s how it will be with the people who refused the Good News, wouldn’t let the measurements be taken, closed their doors, hid, wouldn’t listen.

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