Come and welcome!

Come my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. (Isaiah 26:20)

What’s this? Lockdown? Self-isolation? Well, not exactly. For one thing, it’s an invitation to the Lord’s people, not a directive for a whole nation. For another, there is all the difference in the world between the Lord saying, “Come,” and the Government saying, “Go.”

But I’ve been wondering. It occurs to me that you might be feeling rather restricted in the chambers in your house just now, so I’d like to invite you to visit some of mine. Do come! You are most welcome…

Let’s start in the kitchen. This, to me, is the hub, the heart, of my home. This is where friends can come, where meals are prepared for sharing, a place where love can be expressed in practical ways. So here I would like to invite you to think of the love of God, that love which chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world; that love which God Himself demonstrates in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us; that love which drew us to the Saviour and will take us all the way home. ‘May I,’ said Spurgeon, ‘abide under the canopy of His love and the pavilion of His power.’

Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. (Jeremiah 31:3)

Let’s move on. In the next room there is a bookcase full of books: books to tell me how to make things or grow things; books to help me identify birds or flowers or butterflies; books – and maps – of places I have visited or hope to visit some day. Here I am reminded of the wisdom of God, the One who created the universe by His word and established the world by His wisdom; the One who rules over all; the One who will never be thwarted in any of His plans; the One whose ways are perfect and whose thoughts towards His people are always thoughts of love and peace, to bring about the end He has planned for each of His dear children.

I am reminded too of the Lord Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption – that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31)

There are armchairs in this room too, a good place to rest and take time to think about the Saviour who invites all who are weary and heavy laden to come to Him. And how often do we need to do that as we make our way through this great wilderness! To quote Spurgeon again: ‘Come, my heart, be calm and hopeful today. Clouds may gather, but the Lord can blow them away. Since God will not fail me, my faith shall not fail; and, as He will not forsake me, neither will I forsake Him. Oh, for a restful faith!’

Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! (Psalm 32:10-11)

Now, as you may be aware, mobile phones don’t work very well in my house, so if I want to make a phone call I need to go to the room where my landline is situated. I am reminded that while we may, and should, pray anywhere and at any time, we also need to does as the Lord Jesus instructed His disciples:

But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place… (Matthew 6:6)

What a privilege we have! We may tell our heavenly Father all that is in our hearts, all that troubles or perplexes us, all our hopes and fears – not because He doesn’t know, but because He wants us to share these things with Him.

I have other rooms, of course, but I hope you have enjoyed visiting these. As you leave my house, let me just point out one last thing – its half-metre thick stone walls. So take this thought with you:

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling.  (Psalm 46:1-3)


I’ve found a Friend, oh, such a Friend!

He loved me ere I knew Him;

He drew me with the cords of love,

And thus He bound me to Him:

And round my heart still closely twine

Those ties which nought can sever;

For I am His, and He is mine,

For ever and for ever.


I’ve found a Friend, oh, such a Friend!

He bled, He died to save me;

And not alone the gift of life,

But His own self He gave me:

Nought that I have my own I call,

I hold it for the Giver:

My heart, my strength, my life, my all,

Are His, and His for ever.


I’ve found a Friend, oh, such a Friend!

All power to Him is given,

To guard me on my onward course,

And bring me safe to heaven.

The eternal glories gleam afar,

To nerve my faint endeavour:

So now to watch, to work, to war,

And then, to rest for ever!


I’ve found a Friend, oh, such a Friend!

So kind and true and tender,

So wise a Counsellor and Guide,

So mighty a Defender:

From Him, who loves me now so well,

What power my soul shall sever?

Shall life, or death, or earth, or hell?

No; I am His for ever.


J G Small