I’ve recently became acquainted with a lady whom I’ll call “Kay.”
Kay is a tough lady, for sure. She lives in a small house on a small street in a small town. Just one of millions. Pass her at the grocery store and nothing particularly stands out about her. Just one of millions.
When you enter Kay’s house, you’ll be greeted by an army of pets, mostly strays she’s taken in. Her husband, who has struggled with an illness for many years, will probably be puttering around the house somewhere. He shakes your hand with a light grip, a slight smile on his face, a bit of a far-off look in his eye. He’s gentle as a lamb, head cocked sideways, speaking in hushed tones, immediately putting you at ease.
There are usually several in the house, mostly referred to as “sisters” or “nieces.” Dig a bit further, however, and you’ll find most of the people she’s taken in are not blood relatives.
But they’re family. That’s because Kay believes everyone deserve a home, and love.
“Come in out of the heat of summer, out of the cold of winter. Sit down, let me make you something to eat. Please feel free to stay the night, or the week. We have some extra blankets in the closet. I don’t have much, but we’ll make do. God always makes sure we don’t go hungry.”
It’s a chaotic household, to be certain. Love and laughter abound, and Kay has a rough, smoker’s laugh that lights up her whole spirit.
This chick is tough as leather, man. She’s had to be to survive. Kay had a severely abusive husband, and has beaten both meth addiction and cancer. She’s also suffered great loss which haunts her daily.
She’s exhausted, and struggles with anger and bitterness, which is completely understandable. Christian or not, life is terribly burdensome for many of us. But she pushes past the struggle, the heartache. She has to, for there are many counting on her. Life has beaten her down on many occasions, but she’ll never quit.
She’s found strength in Christ, and she’ll never give up. She’ll never surrender to the dark.
While it’s natural to grow weary of the shackles today has wrought, Jesus cares deeply for the Kay’s of the world. While His invitation to love, acceptance and salvation is open to all, much of the time it seems it’s the destitute who answer the call.
And that’s just the way He likes it, as evidenced by this parable the Lord shared while walking the Earth:
“A man once hosted a huge banquet and invited many guests. When the time came, he sent his servant to tell the guests who had agreed to come, ‘We’re ready! Come now!’ But then every single guest began to make excuses. One said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I just bought some land, and I need to go see it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘So sorry. I just bought five pairs of oxen. I need to go check them out. Please excuse me. Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
“The servant went back to his owner and told him these things. Then his owner became angry. He said to his servant, ‘Hurry into the streets and narrow roads of the city and bring poor people here. Bring those whose bodies are diseased. Bring those who cannot walk and those who are blind.’
“The servant came back again: ‘Sir, I’ve done as you said, but there is still more room.’ And the host said, ‘Well then, go out to the highways and hedges and bring in the complete strangers you find there, until my house is completely full. One thing is for sure, not one single person on the original guest list shall enjoy this banquet’ (Luke 14:15-24).”
Kay says, “I couldn’t make it without the Lord. Some days He’s all I have, and as long as I keep holding on, I’ll make it. No matter what. I’ve been through hell, and now I’m just hangin’ on for Heaven.”
Many will stumble into madness, despair, poverty, heartache, pain and depression. No matter how far you have fallen, however, always remember: the Creator of the universe has invited you to His banquet. He will not force you to come in out of the summer heat, out of the winter cold.
But He’ll always be there, standing at door with a smile.