restoring the temple

I’d done it.

I redecorated.

Happily, I lead Him around, pointing out things I learned, things I’d done, things I’d changed—all because of Him. My heart is being changed still by Him; it is being changed for Him.

He smiled, and my heart fluttered a bit, knowing He was pleased with my progress.

But then He turned and walked down a hallway I hadn’t finished—hadn’t touched really. It was badly lit, the walls were in bad shape, the pictures were crooked—some even shattered on the floor—and I was embarrassed.

And then my heart stopped.

He stood in front of a door that was completely swollen with secrets that the hinges groaned with gossip and accusation. A foulness seeped from the cracks.

“Open this door,” He requested.

Hesitantly, I shook my head and dropped my eyes. “No.”

He looked at me then. “Why not?”

I wanted to crawl into a corner and disappear. He didn’t—wouldn’t—look away. “Why not?” He asked again. There was no anger in His eyes nor bite in His voice, but those words were burning me from the inside.

“Because,” I started in a small voice, “because this is where I lock away what I don’t want You to see.”

“What you don’t want Me to see, or what you don’t want to see yourself?”

I froze. What a question! I expected nothing less from the One who knows me best.

I took a deep breath and gathered my words. “What I don’t want to see,” I answered. “In there is everything that reminds me I’m a sinner, everything that says I screwed up, everything that makes me—”

“Human?” He offered.

I nodded.

“What’s so wrong with human?” He asked.

I looked at Him like He’d lost His mind.

“Yes, you’ve sinned. Yes, we needed to fix our relationship because of that, but isn’t that why you have Me? Isn’t that why I’m here?”

I had no words. I had allowed everything in the room to define me and keep me from seeing Him. I looked at the door and slowly reached a hand to the knob.

But I couldn’t do it.

He placed a hand over mine. “May I?”

Before I could think too long on it, I answered, “Yes,” and He turned the knob and opened the door.

The scene before us was horrific. The sounds, the smells, the sight of it all made me want to vomit. I covered my face. I was so ashamed.

“Hm,” He commented. He tapped His chin. “We’ve got some work to do.”

I was surprised at His reaction, but I wanted to get Him out of there. This dirty room was no place for the Son of God. “Can we just… I don’t know, destroy this room? Forget it ever existed?”

“Destroy it?” He asked and smiled. “Absolutely not, this is a perfectly good room. Look how much space you have in here!”

Yeah, and look what I’ve done with it.

“This is perfectly good space,” He continued. “Think of all the love we can put in here.”

I looked at Him then, hope struggling to reach my eyes.

“It’ll take a while, but we can get this place cleaned up and repurposed soon enough,” He offered.

I shook my head, disbelief and defensiveness attempting to drown the small bud of hope that was trying to bloom. “You shouldn’t bother with this.”

And then He did the unthinkable.

He dropped to His knees, ripped off a piece of His garment, and started scrubbing.

“Nonsense. Look at the rest of your heart. I made it into a pretty nice home, didn’t I?”

He was right. This place was redecorated, but I didn’t do it—at least not alone. He supplied everything—the lessons, the material, the support—I just cooperated. He cleaned up the broken walls and fixed the foundation. He rebuilt this heart so that He could live here and be with me.

He stopped and looked up at me, playfulness dancing in His eyes. “Are you going to keep standing there, or are we going to clean this up together?”

A smile stretched wide across my face as I got down and started cleaning.

There’s a lot of work to do, but I’ve got the expertise of a Helper, the love of a Father, and the hands of a Carpenter working to make me whole.

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