The Library of Your Life – A Story to Make You Think April 29, 2023

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The following story is not original. It has been shared by other preachers, and I am passing it on because of the way it has affected me. Our Lord Jesus often used simple parables to teach profound truth. He was not just a “story teller” but He could tell a story in such a way that it went to the heart! The story below will bring both comfort and conviction. When you are finished reading, it is my hope that you will be led to worship Christ more fully and witness more fervently. Soon we will all meet God. -SP

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in “the room.” There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order.

But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read “Girls I Have Liked.” I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one, and ashamed at some of my comments and thoughts recorded on each. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the thoughts and actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn’t match.

A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me and I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories, others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named “Friends” was next to one marked “Friends I Have Betrayed.”

The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. “Books I Have Read,” “Lies I Have Told,” “Comfort I Have Given,” “Jokes I Have Laughed At.” Some were hilarious in their exactness: “Things I’ve Yelled at My Brothers.” Others I couldn’t laugh at: “Things I Have Done in My Anger,” “Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents.” I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes there were fewer than I hoped.

I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my brief life to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.

When I pulled out the file marked “Songs I Have Listened To,” I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn’t found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.

When I came to a file marked “Lustful Thoughts,” I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.

An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: “No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!” In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn’t matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.

Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore “People I Have Shared the Gospel With.” The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.

And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that the hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.

But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn’t bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own, deeper than I had ever seen on any face.

He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one? Why did He have to know?

Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn’t anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn’t say a word. He just held me, flooding my soul with a love words could never capture.

Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card. I noticed that each signature was in red.

“No!” I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was “No, no,” as I tried to pull the card from Him. His name shouldn’t be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.

He gently took the card back. He smiled a gentle smile and began to sign the cards. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, “It is finished.”

Suddenly I felt clean, clean on the inside in a way I had never known. As I looked at myself I saw that miraculously my clothing was now a glorious white robe, brighter than any material I had ever seen. Then I remembered what God’s Word, The Bible, said in Revelation 7:14, they “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” God indeed “shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

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4 Comments

  1. Jeri Branham on April 30, 2023 at 12:50 AM

    Thank you for sharing. I’m so glad I’ve been washed in the Blood pf the Lamb.

  2. Paul Brinkman on May 6, 2023 at 5:21 AM

    Very convicting…
    Is it okay to share it?
    Do you know who wrote it?

    • scottpauley on May 8, 2023 at 10:52 AM

      I’m sorry I do not know the original author. Danny Akin shared it in a sermon many years ago. You are more than welcome to pass it on!

  3. Paul Brinkman on May 8, 2023 at 2:05 PM

    Thank you

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