By Audrey Hoover
My heart begins to beat faster as I stand before these six strangers. My fingers are half-frozen in the rainy early-winter evening, and I struggle to focus. I’m in the Holy Place and I must present this part of the tour. How? What should I say?
I start with the historical part, explaining about the uses of the three pieces of furniture there. Whispering a prayer, I feel an opposing force present; I’ve felt it before. The devil is here again, and he knows something powerful is going to happen. I press on into how this part of the sanctuary applies to Jesus’s life, but as I go into the personal application, something happens. The woman sitting in the front row, huddled close to her husband in the cold, begins to have a strange look on her face. I ignore it, hoping that this will have a positive outcome, whatever it may be.
“This table of Shewbread represents our study of the Word of God. Psalms says, ‘Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense, and the lifting of my hands as the evening sacrifice;’ so the altar of incense represents our prayer life, our closest connection to God, as it’s the closest piece of furniture to His glory in the Most Holy Place. Now what do you think the candlesticks represent? Well, Jesus instructs us to ‘Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.’ This represents our witness to those around us, like a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden, and a light in a room shines to all who are there, so are we to shine to those around us. Now, let’s look at a three-legged stool. You can sit on that pretty comfortably, right? Now, I’m going to remove one of the legs; can you still sit on that stool? Not really. And if I remove another leg, that stool isn’t a stool anymore. How can we expect our spiritual lives to be any different?”
I have heard this illustration used in someone else’s tour, and I’ve used it in my tour many times already, but this time is different. Right when I speak the words, they hit home. Hard. At this moment I look up into that woman’s eyes and my heart doesn’t know whether to drop or soar. Her eyes are filled with tears, and a few are trickling down her pale cheeks. My conscience whispers to me, Yes, my child, she is going through the same struggle as you. Come back to me! Here I am every afternoon delivering a message to hundreds of people, warning of the coming of Christ and encouraging them to get their hearts ready for the Lord, and yet I haven’t been living according to the very things that I recite each time. I want to spend time with you, child, come back to me! Trust me!
Can I be honest? Ever since then, I have never approached the subject of personal devotions the same way. I would always put it off to the last minute, or I never made an effort to focus. But, let’s be honest with ourselves, Jesus is coming soon, and, to put it bluntly, not very many of us are ready. As teenagers, we look forward to our lives stretched out ahead of us, with all its golden dreams and opportunities. It isn’t natural for most of us to even think of giving up this life for the so-called better life in heaven– we haven’t even seen it! This life on earth seems so promising! My friend, there truly are better things to look forward to in this world. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-20) Jesus gives us a very interesting, but true promise here.
Can you imagine what heaven will be like? No more tears, pain, or death– look at what this world has to offer! What would heaven be like if your best friends or your family weren’t there? What if you weren’t there? Think about it! Your mother and father would get there, and be so excited to see their beloved child, but as they look for you, they realize that maybe, just maybe, you didn’t make it. Will you make an allowance, to be honest with yourself: are you ready? Is your heart clean before the Lord? Be honest, it’s okay; God knows it anyway: He died for you just the same!