This little story may be the product of an active imagination. But you may decide as you read, that it is not so imaginary after all. This is the way I have pictured it:
It is evening--if heaven has an evening. And two figures walk silently, arm in arm, through the golden streets. One of them we recognize immediately as the Master. The other—the other must be the angel Gabriel. On they walk, through beauty beyond description. For “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
But the beauty, tonight, seems marred by the strange silence of the two. They have come now into that vast part of the city which is uninhabited. Just why it should remain so is hard to understand. For the homes that line its winding streets are lovely beyond words. The terraces, the lawns of living green, the rose gardens rich with bloom, would bring tears of joy to any child of God who, looking upon such beauty, could cherish even the faintest hope of one day possessing it.
At last Gabriel breaks the silence.
“Master,” he says, “all that has come from Your hand is good. And these homes are no exception. They are beautiful—as only You could make them.”
“They would be beautiful,” is the Master’s reply, “if they were not empty.”
“Master, when do You plan to bring them home?”
“Not yet,” He replied. And then softly, with a look of yearning sadness, “Not yet.”
“Didn’t you plan to go for them years before this?”
“Yes,” and His sadness seems to deepen.
There is another moment of silence, and then—
“Master, you know there is a housing shortage down there. Many have no homes. There is a continual clamor to find them. And those that do have them seem to be satisfied with the old earth. They seem to feel no need for heaven. But Master, the loveliest homes down there are only shacks compared to those that You have built.”
“I know,” the Saviour says.
There is more silence, and this time it is the Master who breaks it.
“Gabriel, do you see those groups of people in all lands, the ones that are kneeling?”
“They are My people, Gabriel. They are faithful to Me. They keep My commandments. They love My words. They tell others I am coming back. And they pray, ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus.’”
The Master hesitates. Then he continues, “But Gabriel, sometimes when My people feel that I am about to come for them, I detect a worried look on their faces, as if—as if--“
The Master can not say what is in His heart. But Gabriel knows, and turns his face. For he knows no answer for his Lord.
A few moments pass and the angel turns again, his face expressing the love and admiration that are in his Lord.
“Jesus,” he says.
And the Saviour’s face seems to light up as Gabriel addresses Him. He loves to be called by the name that in a special way expresses His mission to a fallen world. “And thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.”
Gabriel pauses an instant, as he looks at the nail-prints in His hands. Then, clasping both wounded hands in his one, he continues, repeating that matchless name:
“Jesus, You gave so much for them.” He does not say more, for even an angel can not find words adequate to express such infinite love.
The tears that a moment ago were stealing down the Master’s cheek, now flow unchecked. His disappointment is so great that its intensity can not be described. At last, motioning toward the empty mansions about Him, He finds words.
“Gabriel, don’t they want to come home?”
Friend, there is nothing imaginary about the disappointment that tears at the Saviours heart. It is more real and intense than I have pictured it. Empty palaces are waiting for you and for me. And why—why—do earth’s flimsy structures so hold our affection while those in the sky stand idle?
Friend of mine, don’t you want to go home?