“Make a place for me, Mommy!” my son worriedly begs as he approaches me, his face full of concern and stress. It doesn’t matter where I am sitting – whether in our plush chaise lounge, the small wingback by the fire, or in a single wooden chair at the table – whenever he wants to sit on my lap, he immediately starts to worry that there may not be enough room for him. He is afraid there is not a place for him here, with me. He feels doubtful about whether or not I will be able to make one, deeply concerned that there will not in fact be space for his little body. His tiny blonde eyebrows furrow together in a frown as he repeats his earnest request multiple times, “Mommy, is there a place for me? Make a place for me!”
What he doesn’t realize is that, no matter the seat and no matter the day, there will always be a place on my lap for him, for as long as he wants one. I would sit in any uncomfortable position imaginable or contort my body into all sorts of possible twists, for the sole joy of holding my little boy on my lap – and gladly remain that way for hours. He is concerned there might not be a place for him, but what he doesn’t understand is that I would do ANYTHING at all to ensure a place for him with me.
I think my son is already learning a very adult way to approach God. Though as Christians we claim to be a people who believe in grace, the fears of legalism can still be found running rampant in us. We know in our heads that we are saved by grace, but for some reason, we are still measuring works. Maybe we haven’t done enough, changed enough, given up enough. Maybe there won’t be a place for us. Salvation is by grace through faith, but faith without works is dead, so maybe – maybe our works aren’t enough, we fret. Or we swing in the opposite direction: we are so intent on forgetting works and uplifting grace instead, that we are in danger of making it seem cheap, easy, and free (it is free, by the way).
Sometimes I wonder if it all doesn’t just come down to the possibility that we have an inaccurate picture of God. Somehow, do we still feel like we have to beg and plead and prod God, “Please! Make a place for me!!”
If so, we have forgotten perhaps the greatest core truth of Who God is: That He would stop at nothing to see us saved. He would (did) die a horrific death and suffer unimaginable agony and loss, sparing no expense to Himself, just for the possibility and the promise of our company. For as long as we want it, there is a place in heaven for us, thanks to Jesus. I’m thinking of the thief on the cross…. “Remember me when you come….make a place for me…” And Jesus’ answer, in short: “Okay. Done.”
There is a place in heaven for you, and me, and all imperfect sons and daughters, as long as we want it.
Jesus, I only need to take one look at my own life to see how miserably short I fall – as a Christian, mother, wife, and person. But don’t let me become obsessed with my limitations. And don’t let me start believing that my imperfections could ever keep You away from me. You accept me, you forgive me, you want to grow me, and you love me. I am yours. Make a place for me.”
- Ask your family:
- When is the last time you felt like somebody didn’t want you somewhere?
- How did that feel?
- Do you feel like Jesus wants you in heaven? Why/why not?
- Read together the story of the thief on the cross, from any of the gospels:
- What did the thief have to do to be saved?
- Why did Jesus want a dirty old thief in his kingdom?
- What does this teach us about Jesus?
- Pray together:
- Let each member of the family thank Jesus for saving us
Let each one tell Jesus that we want to accept that gift and we want to be in heaven with Him someday soon – “Remember me, when you come in your kingdom. Make a place for me.”