Amusement Park: Haunted House Ride, First Room – People

Amusement Park: Haunted House Ride, First Room – People

The ride started off slow and easy. Not too bad so far. But Amalia knew enough about haunted houses to know it wouldn’t stay this way for long.

“Amalia, hold my hand. It will help you know I am with you every inch of the way. When you get nervous, or feel lost, or when we enter the places of darkness, squeeze My hand and I’ll squeeze back reassuring you that I’m still with you. And remember that nothing bad can happen to you when I’m in the car with you.”

They went around a bend, and entered a large, bright, noisy room. People were everywhere! They were on both sides of the track which went straight through the room to another doorway. Some of the people were engaged in a variety of sports including ball games, skating, bike riding, throwing Frisbees, and jogging. Others were busy with quieter activities such as reading, eating, and conversing with each other. A few were napping, and there was at least one group that appeared to be on some kind of tour led by a guide who was pointing in different directions. She watched as a woman lead a line of kids on one side of the track, while two kids appeared to be playing tag on the other.  Most of the people seemed not to notice Amalia and Jesus pass by.

 

However, a few people did notice.

“Hey, there! How’s the ride going?”

“Have fun!”

One group waved, and then got back to their game.

Some people tossing around a beach ball stopped to call out an invitation. “We are having so much fun! Come join us!”

Amalia was tempted to join them. They all appeared to be having such a great time. But when she looked at Jesus with questioning eyes, He just shook His head and the car kept moving.

Before long, the nicer comments were replaced by not-so-nice comments:

“Hey, you’re going the wrong way.”0420200800 (2)

“Where are you going? You should be here with us!”

“Who are you to think it’s okay to keep moving?”

 

As the car continued to move, the comments turned into curses and threats. Some of the angry people threw things at the car, and a few even went so far as to jump at the car. Amalia shrunk back into her seat, but no matter how close they got – so close Amalia could almost feel them – none of them actually touched her or Jesus.

Jesus, on the other hand, didn’t seem bothered by their threatening behavior. His calm voice pulled her attention back to Him as He said, “This room is filled with the people in your life. Most people you encounter don’t pay much attention to you. They are busy with their own lives, and so you pass unnoticed. Other people, however, do notice you. Some of those people are happy to see you and encourage you as you travel your path. They understand that they have their lives and you have yours. A few of them, though, try to persuade you to leave your path to join them on their path. They enjoy their lives and think everyone should do what they do. They have good intentions, but they don’t understand that not everyone is called to do what they do. But, then, there are a number of people, motivated by their own pain, mental illnesses, or even by demonic suggestion, who attack you. They see you moving past them and resent it. They don’t want to move on themselves, and they don’t want you to either. So they try to make you stop by making you feel bad or afraid. But stopping won’t help them. You can’t help those who don’t want to be helped. Ignoring them and moving on is the best thing to do.”

So they did.

Amusement Park: Haunted House Ride, Prologue

Amusement Park: Haunted House Ride, Prologue

“Where do you want to go?” Jesus asked Amalia one day as they headed out the door.

“The field – where it’s familiar and peaceful.” she answered. She loved that field, with its flowers and sparkling blue lake. She imagined walking slowly along with Him, enjoying the peace and companionship she had grown to expect when there.

But that’s not what she found on the other side of the door.

“Wait, that’s not our field.”  She tried to stop Jesus, but He continued to walk, pulling her along with Him.

“Nope, I have a better idea.”

He joyfully led her towards a long canopy-like covering, such as you would find at fancy events or carnivals. Through the opening, she could see a hint of a variety of amusement park rides. An amusement park? With all its activity and noises and smells?  This was not a peaceful place, where they could just enjoy being together. Maybe He had another idea in mind. Maybe He was going to show how the distractions of life could keep her too busy for quiet times with Him. However, that was not likely because of His attitude. He was happy, so this amusement park was not a bad place. Maybe it represented her life. Maybe the rides were the different activities she was involved in: kindness rocks, writing, spending time with her granddaughter,  journaling, reading her Bible, attending small group and church. Each one was a ride of its own. And she could go from one to another as she wanted. Is that how God saw her life? As an amusement park?

“Yes.” Jesus nodded at her. “An amusement park is fun. Your life is supposed to be fun, too. But you make it so serious. I give you these things for your enjoyment, not to make you work hard. You get so caught up in the smallest details, and want everything you do to be perfect. Don’t worry so much about the imperfections. Nothing you do can be perfect as I am the only perfection in your life. Besides, no one else cares. Have fun. Relax. Choose to be with Me as you go from one ride to another. I want to ride them all with you. I want to laugh with you at the thrill of new discoveries and sudden solutions: not fear what might happen. I know how the unknown scares you. These rides are designed to help you learn to not only cope, but actually enjoy the unknown. Talk with me as you feel anxiety rising. I will reassure you until you get comfortable with the feeling of the thrill, and no longer worry.”

“Which ride are we going to do first?” she asked, looking around, and wondering about what He had just told her. Life was supposed to be fun? All of life?  0420200800b (2)

“Let’s do the haunted house.”

“Really? There’s a haunted house here? In this place with You?”

“It’s not what you think. This ride is about life circumstances that pop up and scare you, demons that try to mess with your head, times of darkness where you can’t see where you’re going, and other things that make life uncomfortable for you.”

“I’m not so sure I want to go on this ride. Can’t we go on a different one? Like maybe the merry-go-round?”

“We could. But I think this one is the right one for this moment. Do you trust Me to know what’s best for you?”

“Yes, You’ve shown me that many times over the years.”

“So will you ride this one with Me?”

Amalia looked dubious. She didn’t like haunted houses. She didn’t like the unknown. She felt anxious just at the thought of what she might face in there. And yet, Jesus wanted her to do this.  “Well, okay, if you really want me to.”

“And will you promise to ride all the way to the end with Me?”

“I don’t think I have much choice. Once I get in there, it’s not like we can just turn the car around. I guess I could get out of the car and walk back out, but that sounds worse than staying put in the car. Okay. if You promise to stay with me, then yes, I will ride to the end with You.”

Jesus smiled as He led her to the first car. As they sat down, He smiled. “Ready?”

She nodded, and realized she really was ready.

When You Think You Know Better

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OK, Lord. You said to go this way to find the green paradise You have for me, and You know best. It doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere good though. I mean I don’t even see any green leaves or tall grass or anything. But I’ll trust You.
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Wait! Are You sure this is the way? There’s something dark and scary up ahead – definitely not the bright green You promised. Isn’t there another way?
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I think I’ll go this way.  I see something green up ahead. That seems so much more logical. Maybe I just heard God wrong. 
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It even looks smoother going this way. Surely God meant for me to go this way.
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See? Green leaves. That’s more than I saw the other way. But they’re so little. I know there’s more ahead. I’m going to keep going.
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Hmmm… maybe not so easy after all. But I KNOW there’s something up there that will be worth this climb. Nothing worthwhile is easy, right?
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Arrr… this is harder than I thought. God, where are You? Why aren’t you helping me?
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Whew, made it!  Now to see what I’ve worked so hard for.
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That’s it?? That’s all there is? 
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Maybe I should have gone God’s way, after all.

Bella – part 13 Finally! Some Answers!

Bella was saved from responding as the waitress returned to take their orders. Did he mean to convert her? Is that why he was being so nice? So he could add a tally mark to the ‘Number Saved’ board? If so, he was going to be disappointed. When the waitress left, she decided to be upfront with him.

“Andy… Pastor Andy… um Assistant Pastor Andy…” she began.

“Call me Andy.”

“OK, Andy. Just so you know, I’m not interested in God. My questions are about Pastor Toby and this church. “

“Fair enough. What do you want to ask?”

Bella thought through the list of questions that had been mounting in her mind over the last couple of weeks. Where should she start? Pastor Toby? Jude? The discrepancy in size between the outside and the inside of the church? The weird backyard? The church people’s behavior? She decided to start with the most important.

“Who is Pastor Toby?”

Andy looked puzzled. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, where is he from? How did he get here? Is he really as nice as he seems? How long have you known him?”

Andy held up his hand. “Whoa! Slow down! You ARE full of questions!”

“Sorry. It’s just he seems so… different than anyone else I’ve ever known.”

“That’s because he is.”

At her puzzled look, he said, “Maybe if I gave you a brief history of this church, it would help.”

Bella nodded, excitement beginning to build. Was she finally going to get some real answers?

She waited as Andy lowered his head and appeared to be thinking about what to say. Finally he looked up at her and began.

“This church hasn’t been here forever, as some people like to think, but it has been here for a very long time. It began about the same time as this city. Back then it looked different than it does today, but other than appearance, it’s pretty much the same.”

“So, this church is old. It doesn’t look it.” Bella said.

“That’s because it changes to keep up with the needs and interests of the people who attend. As styles changed, the church responded. But that’s only on the surface. The core of this church has remained the same.”

“OK. So the church is old and keeps changing. That doesn’t help me understand Pastor Toby any better.  Where does he fit in? Who exactly is he?”IMG_20180828_044634375

“You mean besides being pastor of this church?”

“I mean where did he come from? What is he really like?”

“What he’s like is easier to answer so I’ll start with that. He is just what you’ve seen. He’s loving and kind and good and generous. All the time. There is nothing even slightly negative in him.”

“That’s not possible,” Bella said as the waitress returned with their order.

“Here you go,” the waitress said, setting down their plates. “Do you need anything else?”

Bella and Andy glanced at their food, then shook their heads.

“Nope, it looks great,” Andy said. He thanked the waitress, picked up the salt shaker, and offered it to Bella. “Salt?”

“Thanks.” Bella salted her eggs then handed it back to him. She peppered her eggs, handed the pepper shaker to Andy, spread some jam on her toast, then picked up her fork. “So, about Pastor Toby. He seems to be a good man. But always? 100% of the time? That’s just not possible. We all make mistakes, have grumpy days, and harbor mean thoughts from time to time. That’s just part of being human.”

“That’s true,” Andy said slowly. “For a human.”

“I KNEW it!” Bella said before she could stop herself.

 

Bella stories:

I’m Not Hurt, Not Really Part 1 Part 2

Bella part 6   9  10  11 12

 

Dear Hidden One (From Someone Who Loves You series)

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Dear Hidden One,

Maybe most people can’t see you there, moving in the darkness that surrounds you, but I can. You are so beautiful! And I love you so much already!

You probably think that where you are is all there is in life. But you are so wrong. There is so much more to life than you can imagine, and I can’t wait to share it with you. Although most of the time you seem content in your small dark place, I wonder if you sense there is more.  I see you stretching out your arms and legs, testing the walls around you. Do you ever get frustrated with those boundaries?  Or do you know they are there to keep you safe until you’re ready to join me in the light?

Always,

Someone who loves you

 

These letters have double meaning. On the surface they are letters I’m writing to my granddaughter. But they are also letters God is writing to you. Reread them, replacing the greeting with your own name, and the closure with God’s name – and get to know the great love God has for you!

 

 

Fitting the Pieces Together

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She studied the pieces on the table in front of her. So far she had matched several blues together, surely part of the sky. And the greens were probably the grass. She wasn’t sure about the yellows or reds yet, but they could wait.

She picked up another blue piece and compared its shape to the ones she’d already matched. It didn’t quite fit with them, but if she used a little force, she could get it to fit. If it was blue, it had to be part of the sky, right?

“That’s what you do with your life, too,” came a still small voice inside her. “You try to fit the pieces of your life together to figure out the big picture.”

She thought about that.

“You’re right,” she agreed. “I do tend to try to make things that happen in my life fit together to form a picture. Is that wrong?”

“No, not as long as you do it for fun. Just keep in mind that you may not be fitting them in the right places. Like that blue piece in your hand.”

“This sky piece?”

“If you think that’s what it is, fine. You can work with it as if it were. But what if it’s a water piece, like part of a lake?”

“Hmm… I think I get it. I can have fun trying to fit it where I think it goes, but be open to the possibility that I might be wrong.”

“Right. If you get stubborn thinking your way is the only way, you’ll miss the big picture. And if you try to force pieces together that don’t belong together, you’ll get something totally different than the amazing picture I’m making with your life.”

She took another look at the blue piece in her hand, then at the puzzle pieces on the table. Maybe she should put it to the side and wait to see where it really fit.

After all, she wanted to see the completed picture how it was meant to be seen. Right?

Bella, part 6 –  A Little Rain Won’t Hurt

Bella woke earlier than normal the next morning, excited to find out more about that church and the two men who lived in it. But before she could get out of bed, a loud crash of thunder shook her room.

“Where did that come from?” she asked, startled. Had she been sleeping through this storm? Is that what woke her so early?

She usually loved thunderstorms, but this one only brought disappointment with it.  How was she supposed to walk to the church now? A little rain wouldn’t hurt, but lightning? No way could she walk outside with lightning flashing around her. She’d be walking in puddles holding her own personal lightning rod! Maybe this storm wouldn’t last long and she could still go later today. She picked up her cell phone from the small table by her bed and touched the weather icon. As she waited for the web page to come up, she imagined what it might be like to go to the church on a rainy day. They wouldn’t be able to go into the back yard so there would be no sitting on the pier soaking in the beauty. They’d have to stay inside. She frowned. Having to maintain a conversation in an ordinary environment might be awkward. Would they just sit and look at each other? She found carrying a conversation hard, even with all her questions, and Jude hadn’t been exactly the chatterbox the last time she was there. If Pastor Toby was there, it might be OK, though. He seemed comfortable with carrying any conversation.

She looked down at her phone. The weather forecast said the thunderstorm should be gone by mid-day but rain would hang around until the following day. Great. She wouldn’t be able to enjoy the garden or lake, and she’d have to chance an awkward afternoon. Or she could put off the visit for another week.

Shaking her head, she got up to get dressed. She HAD to go today. She didn’t think she IMG_20180608_110929626could make it through the following week if she didn’t.  Her mind was so full of questions that she could barely think of anything else. And her heart was tugging for her to return as soon as possible.  It was almost like she could feel their love for her filling her and drawing her to them. She would get ready now, and leave as soon as the storm was gone.

While waiting for the storm to move on, she kept herself busy doing the chores she tended to put off for when she had more time. Well, she had time now so she swept and mopped the floor, washed the baseboards in the bathroom and hallway, dusted – this time moving objects instead of just dusting around them, sorted and put away a couple piles of clean laundry, and cleaned the microwave.  By then, it was lunch time so she ate lunch while checking on the updated weather map. All the yellow and red of intense activity was gone. There was still a blanket of green covering her area, but that was just rain.  Without lightning, rain was safe enough. It was time to go!

She got her large umbrella and headed for the church. The rain was not hard, and there was no wind, so the walk was actually pleasant. The best part was the empty sidewalk. No one else was crazy enough to be out walking in the rain. Or dodging the splashes made by passing cars, she thought, as she jumped just out of reach of another splash.

When she got to the church, she shook out her umbrella and stood it just inside the door to drain. Then she walked across the foyer straight to Pastor Toby’s living room door. The door opened just as she was about to knock on it.

“Bella!” Jude said, his face breaking into a smile so big it lit up his whole face. “I’m so glad you came! Come on in!”

He held the door open as she came in. She looked around tentatively, not sure where to go.

“Have a seat,” Jude said. “I’ll go get dad.”

Bella looked around and chose the big green comfy armchair that was near the door. That way, if things got too awkward, or she felt the need to escape, she’d be right there by the door. She still didn’t know how much she could trust this man or his father.

While she waited, she looked around the room. The wall behind her held several paintings of a garden and a lake. To her left was  a reading nook with several bookshelves filled with an amazing assortment of books, including one extremely large book that almost filled a shelf all by itself, and an armchair with a small table and lamp. The wall on her right had an incredible fire place and several chairs facing it.  Across the room, next to the door that led to the rest of the house, was a desk with a computer. And in the center of the room was a large couch and matching love seat with a coffee table between them.  Everything in the room spoke of comfort and there was such a feeling of peace that she found herself relaxing.

After a few minutes, Jude returned.

“Dad will be right here. He’s finishing something in the kitchen. Do you want anything? Something to eat or drink?”

“No thanks, I just had lunch.” Then she added as she realized she was thirsty, “but some water would be nice.”

“Water coming right up!” Jude left again, turning left in the hall, towards the kitchen.  Bella sighed. At this rate, she wouldn’t have to worry about who carried the conversation. She almost got up to follow him into the kitchen but a sound stopped her. Singing. Someone was singing and it wasn’t coming from the kitchen. It was coming from the other side of the hallway, where she imagined the bedrooms would be. And it didn’t sound like either Pastor Toby or Jude. Was someone else here?

 

Links to previous parts of this story:

I’m Not Hurt, Not Really, part 1

I’m Not Hurt, Not Really, part 2

Bella, part 1- Heart VS Brain

Bella, part 2 – Distractions

Bella, part 3 – Overcoming Detours

Bella, part 4 – Questions

Bella, part 5 – Yellow and Blue Theory

Giants

Everybody has giants in their lives. Things that threaten their safety. Things that stand in their way. Things that wreck their peace. Things that are usually terrifying and dangerous and huge.

She was no different. She had never seen her giant but she had heard it crashing through her life. Following her wherever she went. She could tell it was huge by the vibrations it made as it walked. And she was terrified of what could happen if it ever caught up to her.

She asked the LORD to get rid of her giant. But all He said was “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” (Is 41:10)

She knew she was going to have to deal with her giant one day. But she kept pushing that day away. Maybe if she just ignored it, it would go away all by itself. Maybe God would get tired of waiting for her to deal with it and He would take care of it Himself. Maybe someone else would come along who would get rid if it for her.

But no. No one can get rid of someone else’s giant. She was just going to have to deal with this one herself.

So she read the LORD’s words over and over until they took root in her heart. Then she stood her ground and faced her giant.

Instead of the ugly, terrifying, monster she was expecting, her giant was blue and fuzzy and cute. No where near as bad as she feared.  Even so, a giant is a giant and didn’t belong in her life, so with the LORD’s help, she soon ran that giant off.

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Amazing, she thought! Here I was, so scared of what could be, and allowing that fear to mess with my life. And all along it wasn’t even close to what I thought it would be!

Isn’t that the case with many of our giants?

The Gray Cat and Her Space: An Allegory (or maybe a Parable)

The gray cat loved her space. This space under the living room table. The floor length white tablecloth hid her from everyone, giving her a sense of security. This was her happy place. This was where she was most comfortable.

She spent as much time there as she could. Sometimes she would be enticed to go out – when her owner or when nature called – but as soon as she could, she would scamper back under the table. She didn’t like it outside her space. It was too big and cold and things kept changing out there. Not like this small, warm, dark, consistent place she had made her own.

One day she heard a new sound. Not like the sounds made by the people who lived there. This was a very quiet sound. Almost like a whisper. Like whispery soft footsteps moving about the room. Curious, the gray cat peeked out from under the edge of the tablecloth. She couldn’t believe her eyes – there was another cat in the room! A black and white cat who seemed to see everything as he wandered around.

The gray cat ducked back under the tablecloth. Did he see her? Hopefully not. Maybe he wouldn’t think to look under the tablecloth. Maybe he’ll just continue on through the room and out the other door. Who was he anyway? Did her owner get another cat? Heaven forbid! The last thing she wanted to do was share her space.

The tablecloth moved, then the edge lifted and his soft black eyes looked in. She closed IMG_20180518_205030007her eyes and pretended not to be there. Maybe he won’t see her in the dim light. But he did and came all the way in. How dare he? This was her place, made just the way she wanted it. And here he was threatening to change it! No way could she allow this!

She attacked. There was a wild scuffling for a few minutes. She fought with everything she had until he had had enough and ran off. She watched him go, smirking and satisfied with herself. This was her place, and no one, not even him, was going to change it.

 

Have you figured out the meaning behind the story?

If you want to try figuring it out by yourself, stop reading here.

 

Still reading?

Good! Here’s the meaning I had in mind.

the gray cat is us, Christians

the table and tablecloth is our set of beliefs and values that we’ve formed and are comfortable with

the living room is life

the black and white cat is God’s truth

God’s truth will seek us out no matter where we are in life. But we don’t always welcome God’s truth when it arrives. We often chase it away from our comfortable place so we can continue living life the way we want it and so we don’t have to change. We will even fight to keep from changing.

 

So… what do you think?  I would love to hear what you got from the story. Do you have another interpretation?

Make my day by leaving a comment below. 🙂

I’m Not Hurt, Not Really Part 2

She turned around slowly and two men with warm smiles on their faces. The older man was tall, average weight, and thinning gray hair. The other man was younger with dark hair and eyes.

“Umm..” she started to stammer not having any idea how to explain her presence.

“Can we help you?” asked the younger man.

Shaking her head, she looked past them to the door. Seeing her look, the older man chuckled.  “No need to worry, We won’t hurt you.” He walked over to her with his hand outstretched. “Hi. I’m the Pastor here. You can call me Toby. This here is my son, Jude. We’re actually glad you’re here.”

“Um… sorry for intruding. I just needed a place to hide.”

“You won’t find a safer place. Would you like to take a walk with us? We were just heading out to the lake.”

Lake? Here, in the city? Confused, she followed them down the hallway. They passed  several closed doors before Toby opened the one at the end of the hall.

“No way!” she thought as she saw what was on the other side of that door.

It opened into a large garden full of colorful blooming flowers, luscious green grass, and mighty fruit-bearing trees of every kind. A dirt path wound its way through the garden exiting at the far end. And in the distance, she could see the blue glint of water. Where in the world was she?

Toby and Jude chatted as they walked, trying to draw her in by asking her questions. They asked about her job and family as well as her concerns, cares, and dreams. Not wanting to reveal the sadness inside her – being a preacher and preacher’s son, they would be sure to try to “fix” her – she covered her feelings by answering flippantly. They didn’t seem to notice her tone, and were intensely interested in everything she said and even seem to care about everything that concerned her.

They arrived at the lake and climbed out onto a pier that jutted out over the water. IMG_20180504_145142154Sitting down, they were all quiet as they drank in the peaceful beauty of the place. Bella began relaxing as the peace soaked into her wounded soul. She had never experience as much love and acceptance from anyone as she was feeling from Toby and Jude.

After a long while, Toby turned to Bella and said, “Why don’t you tell me all about it. Just start at the beginning.”

Still covering her feelings, she continued to be flippant. “What beginning? When I was born beginning?”

Toby looked at Bella for a long minute, then said quietly, “Start at Disneyworld.”

Bella paled. Trembling, she asked, “How did you know about Disneyworld?”

“It’s my job, my gift.”

“My sisters were molested in Disneyworld. I might have been too because I was there. I can’t remember. All I know is something isn’t right inside me.”

She tried to listen to Toby as he began talking but her feelings were overwhelming her and she couldn’t hear anything but fear and doubt and condemnation. Eventually Toby’s words began to get through to her as he spoke louder and louder. When they were loud enough to drown out all her thoughts, she caught his eye and said, “OK, I can hear you. You’re preaching!”

He smiled and said, “Yes, I tend to do that.”

“I think we should leave now,” she said, wanting to avoid any more discussion.

“Sure, if you want to.” They stood up.

“I’m glad I chose to hide in your church,” she said as they walked back towards the church. “This is a good place.”

“I’m glad you accepted my invitation,” he answered. “You’re welcome to stay as long as you like.”

“Thanks, but I’m fine. I need to go.” As much as she loved being there, she was also uncomfortable. If he knew about Disneyworld, how much more did he know?

“As you will. But just know that you’re welcome back anytime. We’ll always be  here.”

They escorted her through the house and back into the foyer. Reluctantly she waved goodbye and went out the front door. She didn’t know why she was drawn to this place that both refreshed and terrified her. But she knew one day she’d be back.  And when she did, she knew Toby and Jude would be waiting for her with open arms.

 

This story, based on a dream I had years ago, is designed as an allegory. Here are a few analogies you can find in it.

The sidewalk was crowded with people – most going about their business, some feeling lost, and a few trying to connect with other people. Life is crowded with people also. Most are going about their business, not really paying attention to those around them. Some people feel lost in this world. And a few people try to connect with others to share God’s love.

Bella was surrounded by people and ended up getting hurt but chose to be in denial about how serious it was. We live in a world surrounded by people and will eventually get hurt. Many of us also tend to live in denial of the pain we have rather than allow someone else close enough to help us. At least I know I do.

The church was bigger on the inside than it looked on the outside, and contained a beautiful garden and lake. The spiritual world, heaven, is much bigger and more beautiful than it appears to those on the outside.

Bella found refuge in the home of Toby and Jude. We find refuge in God the Father and Jesus the Son.

Toby and Jude were intensely interested in everything Bella said, and cared about all her concerns.  God is intensely interested in us and cares about everything we care about.

Toby knew about the pain Bella felt deep in her soul, regardless of how flippant she tried to sound. God knows the pain deep inside us no matter what we do to try to cover it.

Even though Toby and Jude wanted Bella to stay, she was free to come and go as she pleased. We have the same freedom in God. He desires us to stay with Him all the time, but won’t force us.

 

Now your turn. Does this story relate to your life in any way? What are some other analogies you can see?