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 The Room

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room.
There were no distinguishing features except the one wall covered with small
index cards 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 endlessly in either direction, had very
different readings.

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

This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my
life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, 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 Have 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'd 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 20 years to write each of these thousands or even millions of
cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own
handwriting and was signed with my own signature. When I pulled out the file
marked "Songs I have Listened To," 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 the music, but more by the vast amount of 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

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 an insane frenzy, I
yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty and burn the
cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I
couldn't 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 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 the hurt 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 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 opening 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 to me and put His arm around me. He could have said so many

But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me. 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 one and only Son, that whoever
believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16

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