He was the poorest of the poor. His crudely built shack was at the foot of the mountain upon which sat the King's castle. The peasant hated the King because he knew that the King could end the hardships that he experienced every day, if only he desired to do so.
Day by day, the poor man toiled in a garden that yielded only the weakest of crops, walked over a mile to collect water from the stream that was almost running dry and sat in loneliness as he looked up the mountain with animosity.
One day there was a knock at the peasant's door. This had never happened, not even once. He opened it to find a man in rags. The visitor was dirty, hungry and in need of a place to lay his head. Cautiously, the peasant let him in. He shared his meager rations and made another trip to the stream so that he could serve cool water. At night, he allowed the visitor to sleep on the only straw bed in the shack, listening as the only person he had ever shared his space with drew breath.
When the sun rose the next morning, the two men worked in the garden together and talked. The peasant told the visitor all about the King on the mountain and how much he despised him for allowing him to live in such poverty.
"If only he would come down from his lofty throne and experience this life for himself, then surely he would help me," the peasant moaned.
At this, the visitor turned and started walking toward the mountain. Confused, the peasant asked him where he was going and urged him to stop because the King might be angry if his castle was approached. The visitor continued to climb and called to the peasant to follow him. Side by side they trudged upwards until finally they were facing the lowered drawbridge.
As the visitor entered the castle, the peasant tentatively followed. His eyes grew wide as he beheld the opulent contents. The floors were pure gold. The walls were covered with beautiful tapestries woven with threads that appeared to be made of every gem he had ever heard about. As he marveled at his surroundings he became aware that he was alone. The visitor had vanished and he was fearful that he would be found where he should not be.
Silently and with trepidation, he searched for his friend. Finally he came to a jeweled door. He opened it just enough to peek through. The light from inside was almost blinding but he thought he heard a familiar voice so he tiptoed in. As his eyes adjusted to the brightness, he could just make out a person sitting on a throne at the far end of the enormous room and he realized in terror that he was in the king's chamber.
"Come closer," said the voice. Shaking, the peasant inched forward and fell on his face in fear before the throne.
"There is no need to fear me," said the voice as the peasant felt a hand upon his shoulder. As he cautiously lifted his head, the peasant gazed upon the face of his visitor friend who was no longer in rags, but in a kingly robe, and he as smiling.
"I do not understand," said the peasant. "Surely I am seeing things."
"Your eyes do not deceive you," spoke the King. "I am the same person that knocked upon your door. I became as you were in order to win your faith and bring you here to live with me forever."
This simple story is a reminder of how dear we are to our Lord and Savior, Jesus. He loved us so much that he left Heaven and became human in order to live among us and, ultimately, to sacrifice Himself so that we can live with Him in Heaven forever. Just as the peasant, we toil and struggle and wonder why life has to be so difficult. Jesus came to give us hope and to make sure we know that we are not alone. His love, His grace, will see us through the trials of this life if we turn to Him. As the visitor knocked up on the peasant's door, so the Son knocks upon our hearts. All we have to do is open them and let Him in.
I pray for each person reading this that your heart will be open and you will know the joy of His glorious presence. God bless.