Clutching the Bag of Rags

Have you ever longed for something with an intensity that creates an ache within you?

I know of a couple who longed for children.  Pregnancy eluded them; even adoption of a newborn.  Finally, they chose to adopt a seven year old little girl from an orphanage. They eagerly went about preparing a beautiful new bedroom for her, decorating it in pink, filling it with stuffed animals. They went shopping for new clothing and as they hung them in her closet, they anticipated the moments she would wear each outfit.  The room was complete when the bathroom was filled with fun toiletries that a seven year old girl would love.

When they met their new little girl to bring her home, she clutched tightly to a bag of rags….they were her clothes from the orphanage.  The parents thought to themselves, “Thank goodness she doesn’t have to wear these clothes anymore.  We have provided outfits that will fit her new identity as our child.”

As they drove into the driveway of their new home, the parents couldn’t wait to give their new daughter a tour of her new home.  They took her into the kitchen and said, “Here is where we will have dinner together.  We can’t wait to eat meals together as we make memories sharing the highlights of our day.”  Next they ventured into the family room as they explored the games they had purchased, and the movies they dreamed of watching together.  Finally, they came to her new bedroom, intently watching her face for her response.  They opened her closet and pointed out her new clothes….but instead of happiness within the little girl, they only saw her clutch more tightly her bag of rags.

They had dinner around the table; and their new daughter seemed very far away.  It was almost as if she was longing for her old surroundings. She didn’t seem comfortable sitting at the table, receiving attention and affirmation, and plenty of food--good to eat and satisfying to her body.

That night they joyfully tucked her into her new bed.  They reveled in how sweet she looked in her new nightgown, surrounded by pillows and stuffed animals to keep her company.

In the middle of the night, the woman woke up and decided she wanted to see her new daughter sleeping and content.  She went into her room and was alarmed when she couldn’t find her. She searched the bedroom and the bathroom and frantically went to wake her husband up. Together they went through each room of the whole house, not finding her.  Their last resort was to go down to their very old unfinished basement.  Relieved, they found her. They couldn’t believe their eyes.

She was sleeping in the corner of the concrete floor, clutching her bag of rags.

They woke her up, and brought her back to her bed. Night after night, the routine continued.  Their little girl would go to sleep in her beautiful new room, but she would find her way to the basement where she felt more at ease.

Dinner became a struggle.  Their little girl cried when they invited her to the table.  When she finally came, she felt so at ease, laughter and joy eluded all of them.

The parents searched their hearts asking themselves, “Why won’t our daughter move into our new home?  Why won’t she join us at our dinner table?  Why won’t she wear the new clothes we have purchased her?  Why does she continue to clutch her bag of rags, seeming to hold on for dear life?”

I told this story yesterday to the Bible Study and one person asked me, “Finish the story. What happened?”

I said, “It’s yours to answer.”

We are that child.  We have a Father who eagerly adopted us and prepared a wonderful home and family for us to live.  He came to get us and sought to exchange our bag of rags with beautiful new clothes which identity to whom we belong.  He invited us night after night to the table to share a meal with himself and all our new siblings. He longs to give us sweet sleep at night in a big comfortable bed rather than the place of painful memories. . .as our mind races through all the mistakes we made from our day.

Have you fully moved into your Father’s family?

Have you embraced your new home and begun to live all its benefits?

Have you eagerly eaten meals at your Father’s table as you laughed and shared the highs and lows of your day?

Are you sleeping in the safe, comfortable bed or are you choosing the old place, the cold, hard, but familiar concrete floor?

This is your story.  You have the choice to decide to embrace your adoption into your Heavenly Father’s family and live the life he dreamed for you.  Or, you can continue to look over your shoulder, reliving your past, worrying about your future, and squandering your present because you are too focused on looking back and anxious about what is to come.

Will you move in?

Will you?