In that place between wakefulness and
dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features except
for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in
libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order.
But these files, which stretched from
floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different
As I drew near the wall of files, the
first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I have liked." I opened it
and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that
I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew
exactly where I was.
This lifeless room with its small files
was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my
every momen! t, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of
wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly
opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories;
others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder
to see if anyone was watching.
A file named "Friends" was next to one
marked "Friends I have betrayed." The titles ranged from the mundane to the
outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I have Given,"
"Jokes I Have Laughed at."
Some were almost hilarious in their
exactness: "Things I've yelled at my brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at:
"Things I Have Done in My Anger", "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My
Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many
more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by
the sheer volume of the life I had lived.
Could it be possible that I had the time
in my years to fill each of these thousands or even milli! ons of cards? But
each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each
signed with my signature.
When I pulled out the file marked "TV
Shows I have watched ," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The
cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the
end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more
by the vast time I knew that file represented.
When I came to a file marked "Lustful
Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an
inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its
detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An
almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever
see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In
insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty
it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the
floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a
card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.
Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned
the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long,
self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it.. The title bore "People I Have Shared the
Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost
unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long
fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand. And then
the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt. They started in my
stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of
shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled
in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it
up and hide the key. But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him.
No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone
but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the
cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring
myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to
intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one? Finally He
turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His
eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my
face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around
me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried
Then He got up and walked back to the
wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by
one, began to sign His name over mine on each card. "No!" I shouted rushing to
Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His
name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so
dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.
He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards.
I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next
instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He
placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."
I stood up, and He led me out of the
room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.
"I can do all things through Christ who
strengthens me."- Phil. 4:13 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only
son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."