I was waiting, baggage in hand, for Jesus to come when an elegant man passed by and then stopped to speak with me. He asked where I was headed, where I came from.
“I have traveled far”, I replied “and the Heavenly City is my destination. There have been many hurdles and many trials to overcome, and though I have overcome some, so often I am wearied by the weight of these bags I carry.”
With a smile on His face, the passerby questioned me further about my travels. I told Him I have wandered through the valleys, and in the midst of the vale of tears, found the weight had shifted in my bags. Though heavy, they were no longer as burdensome and, in fact, felt strangely lighter.
I had been many places, seen many things, and my heart had ached as I felt the pain of others’ burdens. I had shifted my own bags in order to help others carry their loads. During those times, I reflected, things were so much easier for me to carry. In fact, it seemed during those times that I carried nothing at all myself. As I looked down and gazed at the battered suitcases at my feet, I took the time to ponder the contents therein. I wondered what it was I had packed for this journey. This journey that was so full of newness – how could anything I had before equip me or be of any use to my present travels?
As the Man continued His steadfast gaze, something deep within my spirit was piqued. His gaze was bidding me to do something. Could it be, in the midst of this crowded place, that He was, of all things wanting to see the contents of my battered old suitcase?
I ask quietly. He nodded His affirmation.
So I kneeled down at His feet, fingers shaking as I began to unlock the case, only to find it opened with ease. It opened and much to my surprise nothing was as it had been!
With enjoyment and laughter sparkling from His bright, clear eyes, He sat down with me. Reaching out to me with a heart of love ready to burst, He watched as I unpacked the most wondrous contents one by one.
The first item was a garment I had never seen before; it was incandescent, beautiful beyond description. He told me it was from the times of great mourning I experienced that led me down the path of repentance and found me at the Cross. He called it the Garment of Praise. I remembered that it was at the Cross that I lost the heaviness that had so often weighed me down and hindered me from having a heart of joy.
As I gently put my hand on the next garment, I saw that it was a covering for my heart marked “Joy” – it too, shone brilliantly. Even in the dim light of the suitcase it seemed to pulsate with the steady rhythm of the Father’s heart. Each beat a word of love, giving strength and encouragement as I had wearied in my journey. I took it, handled it and then the Man placed it upon my heart and it seemed to slip through layers and layers of hardness, each melting away under the incredible strength of His joy. He reminded me how, in the difficult times of dreariness, His joy and strength was a special gift.
Next, was fold after fold of incredibly transparent fabric and this, He told me, was to replace the various masks that I tended to wear when I passed through lands of dread. No longer would I need these masks as the love of God, the joy of Jesus and the confidence of the Holy Spirit would be mine completely. I would walk with transparency before God and men and there would be no duplicity within me. My heart would be singly focused, my mind set, and both would, in unison, be reaching only to love Jesus more and more. My whole being would be set on pilgrimage and my life would be radiating the shimmering beauty of Purity and Holiness.
He spoke, “I bid thee, follow Me”. I rose and followed Him into the light leaving a trail of glory light behind us for others to follow.