Usually, we need time to prepare our homes for company. Drop-in visitors often come upon the shock of real-time living within our homes, as family life carries on with dirty dishes in the sink, papers strewn on the coffee table, untidy messes in the bathroom, obstacle courses of toys on the floor, dog or cat hair on the furniture, etc. Extending Christian hospitality can be humbling at such times. It’s as if the home that is normally lovely and cozy cries out in its disheveled appearance, “Come in and bear with me. Please accept me Just As I Am.”
We know how gorgeous a home can look with proper cleaning and maintenance, and if life and activity hardly occur in the home, little preparation is needed to make it ready for guests. Some homes are five-star ready at any hour of the day or night. Most, though, have definite periods of Just As I Am unreadiness.
So goes the heart…those of us who know Jesus Christ as Savior have been at a point where we were anything but ready to meet the Son of God. I don’t remember what I was wearing the night I received Jesus as my Savior, do you? In my broken and humble state, as I confessed my sin and the great need for Christ to lift me from despair and heartbreak, I do remember the sweetness and love of His Presence filling my heart in the darkened meditation room at my college dormitory. My heart was not, in any way, five-star ready for the Son of God to see me, let alone help me out of the darkness in my soul. But He did, and I cannot adequately describe the lightness and peace I felt as He unburdened my heart and flooded my whole being with life that comes only from His amazing cleansing blood.
A weak and sickly invalid named Charlotte Elliott captured our less-than-five-star-readiness-to-meet-the-Savior in the beloved hymn, Just As I Am. According to a relative of hers, Charlotte was unable to attend a town bazaar with the rest of her family due to her physical limitations. “The frail invalid had been left at home alone, lying on the sofa, with her heart a little sad being, as usual, shut out from all the good works. For her own comfort, she began to ponder on the grand certainties of salvation—her Lord, his power, and his promises. Then came a sudden feeling of peace and contentment, and taking her pen, she wrote the beautiful verses of ‘Just As I Am’” (excerpt from Ana Lara, Hymnal.net).
Charlotte allowed the Savior to revive her wounded heart with these words:
Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me;
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
Just as I am, and waiting not to rid my soul of one dark blot;
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Just as I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt;
Fightings within, and fears without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind; sight, riches, healing of the mind;
Yes, all I need, in Thee to find, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Just as I am, Thou wilt receive, wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Just as I am, Thy love unknown has broken every barrier down;
Not to be Thine, yea, Thine alone, O Lamb of God, I come, I come! –Charlotte Elliott, 1835
Drop-in guests may be appalled at a Just As I Am home, but Jesus is never appalled at a Just As I Am heart. He died for yours and mine. If you haven’t done it before, ask Him to visit your Just-As-I-Am heart today, even if you’re barely one-star ready.
© 2021, Chris Werre