I’m standing in a small house, just off a busy road in Virginia. My son and his wife brought us here to view the progress they’ve made on this place they’re remodeling. They purchased it as an investment – hoping soon to have it ready to rent for overnight lodgers.
It’s one thing to watch renovation shows on television – something my wife enjoys. It’s another thing altogether to see it done by a loved one as a calculated risk. Today, though, is about the celebration of the work, nearly completed.
As I walk through this charming home, Jesus’s words keep running through my head:
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14: 2-3
Until now, I hadn’t really thought about the idea that Jesus is preparing a place. I wonder what that means. Is he simply getting everything in order, or is he personalizing the space for each one of us?
One of my son’s proudest details in the house is a large, antique map of the area, which he downloaded, printed and framed. It anchors the house not only in geography but in history. Will there be some similar detail in the house Jesus is getting ready for me – something that speaks to our history together?
Jesus makes the point in the verse that he isn’t simply mass-producing housing, like cookie-cutter condos. He is making it for us.
My son and daughter-in-law have a growing sense of anticipation. It’s mingled with a hint of concern about the flow of bookings that will follow its posting. If you remodel it, will they come?
With Jesus, there is no shade of worry about our being with him. We know that he will not lose any that are his (John 6:39). And here he promises not simply to give us directions, but to return and personally guide us to our place at his side.
I need this visual reminder of Jesus’ love for me. I think time has the potential of eroding our faith down to an intellectual exercise – reducing it to a belief system, a process by which we find meaning, a set of defining values. As silly as it sounds, it does me good to think of Jesus, drill in hand, getting ready the place he has set apart for me. For each of us.
Because, in whatever way he does it, he is fashioning a home close to himself. So great is his desire – his anticipation, even excitement – to reveal his new Kingdom, where neither distance nor sin separates us.
For him, this is a labor of love.
Jesus, how kind you are to tell us of this place you’re preparing. How our hearts need to hear it! Thank you. And prepare our hearts to be fit for living there!
Reader: In a purely whimsical exercise, what would you love to see on the wall of your heavenly housing?