OPINION

Green: Wherever we are in life, God is always nearer than we think

RENAE GREEN

Y’all are my friends, right?

Which means I can share something deeply personal with you and you won’t make fun of me and call me mentally unbalanced—at least not to my face. Right?

Renae Green column

OK. I’m going to tell you about the time I had a tea party with Jesus.

          Yes. Yes I did. Please withhold your judgments and comments until you hear me out. Then, if you want to laugh and talk about me behind my back and call me crazy, you can. Just don’t do it in front of my friend Jesus because He won’t like it very much.

Let me start by saying my daddy was a firefighter. And if you know anything about firefighters, you know one requirement for being a firefighter is that you have to be able to do all kinds of other stuff, too. Like building and auto-mechanics and plumbing and roofing… Every firefighter I’ve known is also a jack-of-all-trades.

When I was a little girl, Dad had all his buddies over and they built a little storage house in our back yard. It was a lovely little house, especially to a 7-year-old girl. It was tiny, with a perfectly angled roof and a single door, and it was painted to match our house. I called it the “little house.”

Mom and Dad stored the cool stuff in the little house. Their old high school yearbooks, Dad’s letterman jacket, Mom’s wedding dress, old photo albums, baby memorabilia from my brother and me… (Why did he have more stuff than I did? It stinks being the youngest.) I loved to hang out in the little house. I spent hours there, sorting through stuff and imagining the stories attached to each item. It was my playhouse—my escape to an imaginary world where I could do and be anything I wanted.

One night, I dreamed I went to the little house. When I got to the door, it opened and there was Jesus! He invited me inside, where He’d set up a child-size table and chairs with a lovely pink tablecloth, a real china tea set and a vase of roses. He held the chair for me as I sat down, and then He sat with me, poured tea, and we laughed and sang and talked and played for the longest time. He acted like He had nothing better in the world to do than spend time with me, a little seven-year-old girl.

Next thing I knew, my mother sat on the edge of my bed, waking me for school. I was confused . . . the dream was so real; I didn’t know where I was now. Where were the table and chairs? Where was the tea set? Where was Jesus?

Slowly, reality seeped in and the dream faded. “Mama,” I said. “Jesus had a tea party with me in the little house. I…” Disappointment singed my spirit. “I guess it was just a dream.”

My mother looked at me, and then she gave me one of the sweetest gifts anyone has ever given me. She said, “Maybe it was real. Maybe Jesus really did visit you in your dream, Renae. You need to remember this dream always. You must be so special, for the Son of God to have a tea party with you.”

So I tucked that memory into my “very special” mental file, and I remembered. For a long time, I remembered how loved I was, how special I was to the King of the Universe.

Until I forgot.

Years passed. Life got in the way. And somewhere along the road, I forgot that very special day, that priceless treasure of knowing I was precious and wanted and loved.

I forgot all about it until a few years ago.

I went through some really hard times. Years when I was forced to my knees, when I couldn’t take another step. In desperation, I cried out to God and wrapped my arms around His great neck and let Him hold me. And sometime during that process, I remembered. He whispered gentle reminders to me that I’m special to Him. I’m precious. I’m treasured. I’m loved.

And I remembered the tea party.

Of course God loves me! He would have to. Why else would the all-powerful, almighty, all-consuming God of the universe stoop to set up a little-girl-pink-and-roses tea party for me, and act like it was the most fun He’d had in ages?

He’s reminded me in recent times that to Him, I’m the same seven-year-old girl. He will never leave me or forsake me. And He longs to spend time with me.

Friends, I want to assure each of you of one thing: God loves you that way, too. Oh, you may not have a tea party memory. But if you’ll search your mind, you’ll find so many ways that He reached down and spoke to your heart, using your very own special love language. Perhaps He sent a beautiful sunset just when you needed the peace it brought. Perhaps He arranged for you to have tickets to the big game when they seemed impossible to get. Or maybe it was that phone call from an old friend, just when you thought no one cared.

This week, as we recall Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on the cross to pay the hefty price for our sinful natures… as we celebrate His resurrection on the third day… as we rejoice in the fact that He conquered death and Satan and all the powers of Hell… remember these truths: He loves you. You are precious to Him. You are treasured and priceless. You hold a special place in His heart. He will never leave you or forsake you. Nothing can ever separate you from His great love.

Don’t ever forget.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 8:38-39.

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly perfect children, and far-too-many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com