Thursday, February 22, 2007
"If I've told this story; let me tell it again. If you don't need it, I think I do - about a couple in the World War II in England. It is concerning a young couple, and the young man thought he was secure; he couldn't be drafted. He went along in this happiness for a long while until one day, sure enough, he got his draft papers, and he said to his girlfriend, 'I've got some news.' She said, 'What? What? Are we going to fix the day of the wedding?' 'No, no,' he said, 'No wedding.' She said, "What do you mean no wedding?!''I got my draft papers, and I've got to go the day after tomorrow.''...Oh.' That stiffled everything.He said, 'I'll tell you what we'll do, dearly, tomorrow we'll go to town, and I'd like to help you select all your wedding gear.'And so they went to town, she got everything she needed, a beautiful ensemble, all the out things she needed, took them home. He kissed her goodnight, and he went away, and he wrote faithfully every week for about three years, until the letters stopped. She began reading the old ones. She began to get discouraged. And then one day when she got home, her mother handed her a telegram from the war office saying that this boyfriend, George, ...was missing...believed killed.The girl said, 'I, I don't believe that somehow, I-I don't believe he was killed... I, I'll still hope.' But down the street was a young man who didn't have to go to the war, and he was pretty well off financially, and eventually he asked just to take her for a walk, and she said, 'Well, you can walk to church with me.' And he did this a few times, until one day he said (chuckling), 'You know, Mary, I talked with your mother and she said you did get a notice from the war office that George isn't coming back; that he's dead.'She said, 'I, I, I don't believe this!'He said, 'Well, you haven't heard from him for two years.''Well, I still think he might come.''No, no, why don't you get... look... I can supply you with everything - I've got the money, we can buy the home, you can choose the furniture - do as you like. I LOVE you.'But she kept him at arms length, and one night she came home from work and told her mother, 'I- I haven't felt good today, and I should go to church tonight, it's Wednesday, but I won't go. And I don't want to see anybody. I'll go upstairs and I'll just bathe and rest.' And she went upstairs and being depressed, she got more depressed when she thought about her boyfriend (George), and then she felt, 'Well, in the last letter, he said, 'I love you, and I'll be back to see you.'' The she said, 'You know what, I tell you, I'll cheer myself up.' So she went and put on her wedding dress, and she put her picture in her arm just like this, she was sitting in front of a vanity with this picutre, looking at him, and reading his last love letter, and then reading another one and thinking about him and reading the love letters, and getting all hot and stirred up, and thinking, 'Oh, if he came... OH HE WILL COME, HE WILL COME! I KNOW HE WILL COME!'Downstairs a man knocked at the door, and when the mother opened the door, there was a soldier and she went (whispering), 'Come in... George.'He looked around and said, 'Mary, Mary; where is she? Is she, is she ill?''No.''Is she, is she married?''No. She's upstairs. She, she isn't very well and she said she didn't want to be disturbed unless it was very important.'So he said, 'Well, is this important enough?'Her mother said, 'I think it is.'Her mother went upstairs, you know, and in those old English houses they have keyholes, where it is often said you could nearly walk through them, much less look through them. And her mother bent down, put her eye like this, and looked... 'Wha- What? What in the world's happening. My daughter all dressed up for the wedding?' She went downstairs, and she said to the boyfriend, 'Go upstairs and the room is on the left. I just looked through the keyhole, Mary's dressed, don't worry about that.' Though she didn't say how she was dressed. 'She's dressed, and... You just open the door gently, and you know when you open that door, the knob kind of groans a bit so open it very quietly and just push it open and just pop inside. Will you do that?'And he said, 'Yes!'And he did it!He opened the door and there she is with his picture, and a love letter, and she held the door open and she looked through the mirror, saw his reflection...(Did she say) 'Oh, George, it's you...' 'Oh you've come at this hour...' (No.)She turned around, picked up that long bridal dress, and then she made one step and the she was airborne! She was up in his arms, and he hugged her. He hugged her, and hugged her, and hugged her...And he said, 'You sent me a letter, and I've struck a match many times in the dark, and read that letter: I love you and I'll be waiting for you... And I'll be ready when you come... but I didn't think you'd be SO ready.'You know the book says we're looking for that blessed hope, that glorious appearing... huh? Of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Listen, there's one thing the world does not have a shred of right now - it's hope. They have no hope. It has no confidence in its own effects, it has no confidence in government, it has no confidence in money... We have a hope. We have a star in our sky. We have an assurance because he said, 'I will come again!' because the angels said He will come again because the apostles said He will come again, and the spirit's one cry is: 'Come Lord Jesus!' And if I'm part of the bride, I say, 'Come Lord Jesus!' And the last thing that Jesus said in the marvelous, marvelous book of the Revelation, is... it says in verse 20, 'He which testifieth these things saith, 'Surely I come, quickly.' And the apostle puts His name and says, 'Amen, Even so, come Lord Jesus.' I wonder what He'd think if he came back today - Nineteen hundred and seventy seven. The world drags on and the church is sleepy, and she's defiled. 'He that haveth this hope in Him purifieth himself' (1 John 3:3) He's going to keep as far away from impurity as he can, he's going to live right, tip toe on expectation, he's going to be in the place of submission, he's going to in a place of obedience, he's going to be in a place when He comes he won't blush. What does the apostle say, 'When He comes, we shall not be ashamed at His appearing.' (1 John 2:28) If He would have come this week, would He have caught you somewhere where you would be embarrassed? Would He have caught you saying something that ... 'Dear Lord, I'm sorry if I known that you were coming, I would not have said that...' Would He? And so with this, we used to have signs in the houses when I was a kid. In every house you went into whether it was spiritually sound said this, 'Go to no place where you would not want to be found when Jesus comes. Do nothing you would not like to be doing when Jesus comes.Say nothing you would not like to be saying when Jesus comes.'You know I used to think that somebody carried that card into every house we visited. I thought they mailed it ahead of time. Every house we'd go in, I'd say, 'Mother, they all say the same thing.' 'Yes, because they're all expecting the coming of the Lord. They don't want to be doing anything they would not want to be doing. They wouldn't want to be saying anything they would not want to be saying. They wouldn't like to go anywhere they would not like to be found.' "
- Leonard Ravenhill