NEVER OPEN THE DOOR FOR STRANGERS!

     Sarah is riding along the “Highway of Life” in her brand new convertible carrying several gifts in the trunk that her Father had personally selected just for her. She has just put the top down and she is driving down the road smiling all smugly and excited just to see what is next down the road. The warm wind is blowing in her face; her hair is down and flowing freely all around. She feels totally free for the first time in her life. Totally free as she drives down the road.

     As she looks at the beautiful scenery, it seems as though she is seeing everything for the first time. With the top down on her car there aren’t any obstructions to block her view, everything looks so fresh and new and the colors are so bright and vivid. Sarah is thinking to herself, “Oh, it’s so beautiful, the sun is shining so brightly! I hear the birds singing, I love my car, I feel so good! I feel great! My Daddy must love me very much since He gave me this new car and gifts too! Wow! My life will change now because this new car makes me feel so good, I will have a new attitude! I will look good and feel good, everything will be wonderful now, just everything! I am so blessed!” As Sarah continues to drive down the road,her heart is so full of love and gratitude to her Father that she begins to sing love songs to her Father about how wonderful He is . Sarah is experiencing total freedom for the very first time in her life!

     As she is driving so happily down the road, she notices someone standing ahead in the distance. She has never seen this stranger before. He is small built and he looks so young and innocent. He is walking slowly down the road with his head down looking very discouraged and full of defeat. He is holding a small suitcase in one hand and pushing rocks with his worn out shoes as he walks down the road. As Sarah approaches, the stranger looks into her eyes, smiles faintly, and holds up his thumb to hitch a ride. As Sarah looks at him, she remembers the stern warning from her Father as she prepared to travel with her new car.

     Her Father had looked straight into her eyes, pointed His finger at her and sternly spoke, “No matter what, promise me that you will never pick up any strangers! Never allow any strangers to get in your new car! Don’t even look at the strangers, keep your eyes on the road straight ahead and keep driving. Don’t ever ask strangers for directions; use the map that I gave you to find your way. The map that I gave you has all the correct directions to the chosen destinations for you on this “Highway of Life”. Along the way as you come to a rest stop, you may open up one of the gifts that I have prepared just for you. Enjoy each gift, my child; I selected each one just for you! Promise me that you will never pick up any strangers! Keep your eyes focused on the way that I have planned for you to travel. Listen to My words, I speak the truth, I know the way. Listen to Me!” In order to get the new car, she promised to do as He asked.

     She remembered her Father’s words and her promise very well, but she was so curious. Just one more little look can’t hurt anything. She glances at the stranger and he does indeed look so handsome to her. Sarah takes her eyes off the road for one whole minute just to look at this stranger from top to bottom completely with her eyes just one more time before she totally passes him by. She compares the size of his body to hers and notices that he is smaller than her. Therefore, she concludes that she is probably stronger than the stranger; after all he is so much smaller than her. She looks at his slightly round face; his cheeks have a slight blush to them. Then she looks into his eyes; they are deep blue. The color reminds her of looking down into an endless deep blue pond. They look comparable to the way steel feels cool when you touch it, but yet there is a fun innocent look to these deep blue eyes. He looks very attractive to her although he is slightly small. She thinks, “I think I’m a good judge of character and he looks perfectly safe to me. He is so appealing to look at. Besides, he is so small and innocent looking, how could he possibly be of any danger to me? I know what Father said, but I think I am capable of handling this by myself. I just won’t tell Him anything about this. It won’t hurt my relationship with Him because He won’t know anything about it. Father just doesn’t want me to have any fun and experience the thrill of life on this road. I’m going to give this stranger a ride because I want to! I’m going to do what I want to for a while and make my own decisions! I’m tired of Father always telling me what to do; besides I am perfectly capable of thinking for myself! After all, life is no fun unless you have some thrills and take some chances! Go for it, girl; do your own thing! Go for it now!”

     She makes her choice. She puts the map away and pulls the car over to the side of the road beside the stranger. He smiles all over himself as she leans out over the side of her new convertible and asks him if he would like a ride. He smiles at her as he opens the door and gets into the car. Her heart begins to beat faster with excitement as she is totally captured by his captivating smile. As he slides into the car beside her, she slowly looks him over completely sizing him up. She notices just how extremely handsome and appealing he is now that she can look at him close up; although, he is unusually small-built for a man. She self-confidently concludes that there is no harm done in offering a ride to this small innocent-looking stranger; Father doesn’t know everything! Full of self-confidence she pulls back to the road and continues her journey on the “Highway of Life” now carrying a small-built but very handsome passenger along beside her.

      To begin with, conversation with the stranger was very interesting. He told her about all the fun, exciting, thrilling experiences that he had on the road. She listened to each story fully enthralled. She also was completely captured by his smooth flattering words about how independent and self-confident she was. She became very proud of her self-accomplishments as he continued to brag on her. Then he asked about her relationship with her Father. She felt some guilt as she shared with the stranger about her Father’s special instructions and her promise about strangers. But the guilt eased up and finally disappeared altogether as the stranger assured her about her own self-sufficiency. The stranger told her that fathers only wanted to hold their children back from fully experiencing all that life has to offer because fathers just want to totally control their children. He also told her that as long as she allowed her Father to tell her everything to do, that she would never really live totally free but would always be under bondage to her Father’s wishes. She began to think to herself, “Yes that’s right, Father always wants control! How could she possibly fully experience life as long as she always did everything that Father said? After all she was perfectly capable of making her own choices! When Father allowed her to make choices in the past, she had always made good choices. So..why would Father have to always tell her what to do?” She began to swell up full of self-pride and indignation.

     She turned to the stranger and said, “You know, I think you are right! Father just wants to control me, but I am certainly capable of making my own decisions and choices by myself! I don’t really need Father! I can go my way! I can do my thing!”

     The stranger smiled all over himself as he reached out his hand to her and said, “I knew you would see it my way! You are very self-sufficient and independent! You know now that you don’t even need the Father’s help. You should totally be in charge of yourself! She nodded her head eagerly in totally agreement as she placed her hand in his. She was swollen full of self-pride and he also was swollen full of self-pride. But he continued to grow larger as he had much more self-pride than her. He grasped her hand tightly in his, so tightly that it began to hurt. As she struggled to get her hand free, he smiled at her even larger than before. Suddenly with a high-pitched scratchy voice, he screeched to her, “You are mine now! I have waited for a long time here on this road just to steal you from your Father! All I needed to fully capture you was for you to say with your own words that you didn’t need your Father anymore! That you wanted to take charge of yourself! After all, out of the heart, the mouth speaks!”

     She became horrified as she watched his innocent-looking, handsome face turn into a face full of hate! He yelled and screamed loudly at her, “You are so stupid! A stupid little nothing! So full of stupid self-confidence when really all that you have ever possessed was what the Father gave you! Now that you said you didn’t need the Father, you don’t even have that anymore! You are so stupid! I am going to use you, stupid little nothing, to hurt your Father!

     Although why would He care anything about you, a stupid little nothing, is beyond me! Your Father warned you about strangers, but you didn’t listen! Why does He keep trying to teach you stupid little nothings? You never listen! I don’t understand why He loves you! He knows that you are incapable of loving Him in the same way that He loves you! Yet He still loves you! Why? You can’t even obey His direct instructions! You don’t even keep your promises! You lied to your Father! You are such a stupid little nothing! I will never understand His love for you! But I can use you to hurt Him because of this misplaced love that He has for you!

      He threw me out of my home because I was really better than Him and He knew it; therefore He threw me out! But He wants you stupid little nothings to live with Him in my old home! I hate Him so! And I am going to use you, little stupid, to hurt Him back! I want Him to feel some of the pain that I have felt since He threw out of my home! You are going to help me hurt Him, stupid!”

     He laughed and ridiculed her, then he twisted her arm painfully as she struggled more and more to get her hand free. The stranger then opened the trunk of her car, took out all the gifts that were selected just for her by Father, and laughed violently and hysterically as he smashed and totally destroyed each one. “You will never need these gifts because you are so unworthy and stupid! You are too full of self-pride to use them correctly anyway!” He continued to laugh and ridicule her as he continued to twist her arm. He called her more evil names than she even knew existed! He tore at the covering that her Father had provided for her and exposed her weaknesses for all to see! He continued to degrade her in front of the entire universe! He laughed hysterically and ridiculed her throughout the process! Then he opened up his suitcase and took out of it tools of torture! He took out the tool of fear and beat her with it until she was so full of fear that she couldn’t move or speak. Then he took out his favorite tools of shame, the sins and failures of her past and tortured her with them! He laughed in her face as she cried loudly in pain. “Your Father said that He wouldn’t remember these sins against you, but guess what? I do remember them all! I will always remember your sins! Look at how stupid you are! Then he took out another tool of shame, the present sin of her disobedience to her Father and beat her with it as well! He continued to degrade her in public for all to see! Then the stranger took out the worst torture tool of shame, her future sins! He continued to ridicule her! “Look at these future sins! You will never be worthy of your Father’s love! You will never be clean! You will continue to sin all your life! You will always be stupid! You are incapable of loving your Father! You can’t ever return His love because you are so full fo sin! You will always be full of sin! You will always be a failure! You don’t deserve to live forever with Him! I will never understand what He sees in you! I am so bored with you! I am getting sick of you, stupid little thing!” Then the stranger let go of her arm and threw her down on the ground exposed to all! She struggled to get up but was too weak from the beatings to move. “Where is your beloved Father now? If He really loved you, He wouldn’t have allowed me to beat you up! So I guess your Father is sick of you too!”

     At this cruel comment she began to cry softly very broken on the ground. As she lay there all broken and crying, she begin to say out loud how sorry she was for all these sins. She knew in her heart that the stranger was right about everything. She confessed out loud so that all who hear would know just how wrong she had been not to listen to her Father, that she was full of sin. The stranger screamed at her, “I hope you die here full of your sins! You don’t deserve the Father’s love!” At this comment, she began to cry out louder so all could hear, “I’m so sorry for all my sins, past sins, present sins, and future sins! I am a failure! Father, if you hear me, please I know that I am unworthy and will never be worthy! I am truly full of sin! The stranger was right! Please forgive me, Father! I have been so wrong! I have failed You so completely!” The stranger looked at her with disgust and hatred, picked up his suitcase of tools, and then left her there lying on the ground as she continued to cry in pain. He walked away cursing both her and her Father. He was thoroughly disgusted at her pitiful, broken confession. After he left, she remained laying on the ground exposed and broken in the pain of her failures. She put her bruised face down to the ground and cried pitifully. In the deep depths of despair she longed for death to deliver her from this intense pain of suffering and her own self-loathing. She knew that if only she had listened to her Father. If only….she sobbed deep sobs from her own broken heart, crying out for her life to end. She was unworthy of anything except death.

     Suddenly she felt breath on the back of her neck. She stiffened with a fresh new fear as she sensed another presence nearby. She began to shake uncontrollably as she panicked, “Was the stranger coming back?” She crouched closer to the ground, covered her head with her arms, and closed her eyes tightly bracing for more blows. Then she felt a soft, gentle touch as someone placed their hand on her shoulder. She opened her eyes slightly as she heard His voice. He spoke so gently to her, “I’m the Son of the Father and I have come to help you”. Then He gently helped her up off the ground and stood her up beside Him. As He lovingly looked into her frightened eyes, He gently reached up and moved some of the straggled hair from her face. He looked at her with eyes full of love, compassion, and grief. He cried for her as He examined her wounds. She was now bruised, bleeding, and wounded even to the depths of her spirit. Her face was now covered with dried blood as a result of a direct blow from the stranger. She was now covered in dirt from being thrown on the ground. Her clothing was now torn and ripped exposing her weaknesses for all to see. His spirit grieved for her. Then He took his covering off and placed it around her so that she was completely covered and no longer exposed. With His tears, he cleansed her of the filth from the dirt and dried blood. Then He gently wiped away all her tears with His love. Finally He gently placed His healing touch on all of her wounds until they were completely healed and she was completely restored of her beauty. The covering that He had placed upon her suddenly became a brilliant white satin gown that reflected the light of the His love. Her face glowed as she was filled with the inexpressibly joy of undeserved love.

     Then he picked her up in His arms and gently swung her round and round in the joy of His love as He sang a love song to her.

                                             “I love you, yes I do.

                                               I love you, yes I do,

                                         for My word will tell you so.

                                           Little one, to Me you belong,

                                         You are weak; but I am strong.

                                                Yes, I love you, yes I do.

                                                 Yes, I love you, yes I do.

                                                 Yes, I love you, yes I do,

                                             for My Word will tell you so.”

      Zephaniah 3:17NKJV:  “The Lord your god in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

     Hosea 14:4 NKJV: “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from him.”

     Ephesians 2:4-5 NKJV: But God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in tresspasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) . . .

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