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The Story…

I look, and I see a busy coffee shop.  The coffee shop is of immense size, covering the face of the earth.  There within the coffee shop are multitudes of people… many, many people are there.  There are different sections of the coffee shop, and within those areas people have specific types of coffee.  Thus, the people are generally grouped by coffee type to make up the entirety of the shop. 

Most people, almost everyone, have some coffee; most are enjoying it, but a few seem to dislike the taste of it.  Rarely do I see someone not having any.

I see the people, and they are busy.  They are milling about, coming and going, visiting with one another.  As I look closer, I see many, many people with electronic devices… everyone has one type or another.  There are laptops, and PDAs, and digital cameras, and GPS units, and video games, and smart phones, and tablets, and audio and video recorders… every type of portable electronic device that’s ever been, is here.  Everyone has at least one; many people have more than one, and some are more consumed by them than others.  Many people are utterly consumed by them. 

The day is pleasant… a few wispy high clouds drift across an otherwise blue sky.  The sun is shining, but it’s not overly intense due to the shield from the clouds.  There is a slight breeze blowing, as there always has been… a pleasant breeze that makes the day more comfortable, or should I say, more comforting.

It is a very busy coffee shop, with many, many people.  But one man in particular catches my attention as he sits alone at the coffee shop, waiting.

He is an island unto himself, but he is not always alone… he does have occasional visitors.  Almost everyone at the coffee shop is aware of this man.  Some interact with him, most don’t… 

I watch as some people at a table are talking with one another.  They are enjoying their conversation, they are enjoying their companionship, and they are encapsulated by their electronic devices.  A breeze blows from the direction of the man, catching the attention of the group.  They look at the man sitting alone.  They acknowledge his presence… some of them find him to be intriguing and a few of them actually go over to talk to him.  But after a short time, they regroup and don’t consider him further, beyond random and irregular passing thoughts.  Eventually, they turn away from him completely and resume their activities, not giving the man another thought.

I see another table of people.  These people are similar to the first group… enjoying themselves, laughing, being sociable, drinking their coffee and, of course, distracted by their portable electronic devices.  Again, the breeze blows in their direction from the man.  They stop what they’re doing, look toward the man, and they frown… their countenance falls.  They do not like what the man offers, what he is about.  They would prefer if he moved away from them.  His steady gaze sears them, through and through, down to their souls; they become very uncomfortable.  Realizing that the man isn’t going to leave, the group hastily picks up their things and moves to another table far away from the man.

I see a group of people huddled around a smaller table.  These people seem to be studying something… they seem to be intently focused on a task at hand.  They are scholarly, with much sophistication.  The breeze, lighter than before, catches their attention and points them into the direction of the man.  Light as the breeze was, this group is affected differently and more acutely than the others, and they become angry.  First, they curse the breeze for the distraction; then they curse the man, throwing blasphemies at him with vigor and vile.  The man seems largely unaffected, mostly disappointed.  The group, once contently studying a topic of interest for them, has now refocused their efforts against the man, scheming a way to be rid of him – to eliminate him from all studies, from the area, even from the coffee stop entirely.

I see another man sitting alone.  He is in his 30s.  He is bruised and scarred emotionally, and it would appear he is recovering from a past relationship that went bad.  He also has one of those electronic devices, and it is playing loud, hard music to excess.  Ironically, the music seems to comfort him, but only on the surface.  The breeze blowing across the shop catches his attention, and he turns toward the first man with a realization of hope.  The bruised man has been aware of this man before, but he hasn’t engaged with him at any depth or with any real meaning before.  Today, though, the bruised man gets up, goes over to the first man, and has fellowship with him.  A deep, loving friendship quickly develops that results in a personal relationship between the two.  The bruised man is healed of his wounds, and begins telling others about this man and how he affected him and changed his life.  Now the changed man listens to music that is inspired by the first man.

I see a woman milling about.  I watch her over time, and she goes from table to table, from this group of people to that group of people.  At certain times, she is with people that know the man well, as she herself knows the man.  At other times, she associates with people that do not know or care about the man.  She has known the man since her youth, but is still drawn away from him occasionally by the people that don’t know the man.  She ebbs and flows, ebbs and flows…

I see a couple at the shop, and they have a little boy.  They are a happy family.  The parents love the boy, and the boy loves them.  It is obvious just by looking at them that there is much love and contentment between the parents and child.  I focus on the boy.  I see that he is looking across the room at the man, and the man is looking at him.  They smile at one another, then mouth unintelligible words between themselves, which are only known by the two of them.  They stop their inaudible conversation after a moment or two, gaze at one another as only special friends would, then continue what they were doing.  He is a beautiful boy that radiates goodness to all those who see and interact with him, but the goodness is not his own.  It is a reflection of the man that has placed his character inside the boy.

After a time, the man leaves the coffee shop.  But it’s not as simple as that.  More accurately, he is forced to leave.  He was appreciated briefly while he was at the shop, but after a time, he was physically removed from the shop.  Forcefully… physically… there was blood, and a lot of it.  I turned away; I did not watch as he accepted what they gave him, what he endured from them, what he took for them.  Accepted?  Yes, accepted.  He neither deserved what he endured, nor fought to avoid it.  But, rather, he suffered by many, for many, by himself… alone.  What is most interesting is the fact that he could have stopped it if he wanted; he could have ended it before it began.  But he chose to endure, he chose to leave, for the betterment of the people of the coffee shop. 

Yes, I turned away.  I could not tolerate what he accepted.  I would not stand beside him at his most difficult hour, even though this was my plan for him from the beginning.  You would think I would have done something given our special and unique relationship.   You would think I would have interceded for him, given that I love him very, very much.  I could have… easily and instantly.  But, instead, I let him deal with the situation as only he could, as only he would.

The man is My beloved Son.

He is with Me now, sitting beside Me.  I love Him, and He loves Me.  He speaks to Me much about the people of the coffee shop who love Him.

While He is not at the coffee shop at the moment because He is beside Me, He is not forgotten by the people in the coffee shop.  The Breeze that blows across the shop reminds the people of my Son, a gentle reminder that He was there, among them, as one of them.  Many people do remember Him, and they speak of Him, and they tell stories of Him, to those who will listen.

One day, soon, He will return to the coffee shop, to set it straight, once and for all.  He will not be brutalized this time, as He once was.  This time, He will go to the coffee shop with power and glory.  He will be exalted as He rightly should be, and given a name above all names.

And I will follow my Son to the coffee shop, to enjoy fellowship with those who know and love Me and my Son.

The “I” in the story is God.

Jesus is the man.

The breeze is the Holy Spirit.

The coffee shop is the world.

The coffee is society.

The electronic devices are Satan.

You are one of the people… which one??