I had a vision that I was walking down into a basement. It was above the foundations and solid but it was still underground. As I looked around me I could see that the basement was vast. It stretched away before me as far as my eye could see. It was quite light – there was sunlight streaming in from windows high above and I could see dust particles dancing in the sunbeams. It was also cool. Not cold, but the kind of welcoming cool you get when it’s really hot outside. It felt really peaceful. It felt so welcome. It was also empty. An ideal spot for any agoraphobic escaping from people, particularly crowds.

There were a lot of stairways leading up to access points for the basement. I was afraid to go up those stairs. I didn’t want to venture outside. I was afraid of what I might find there. There could be a war out there, although it just felt like it was a beautiful day. Fear guarded the doorways and stopped me from leaving.

But I didn’t really want to leave. It was so beautiful and tranquil in the basement.

I knew that this vision represented my fear of people. I could also see how very much it looked like the basement of a church. Then it struck me. The church has agoraphobia. The church is afraid to go outside. It’s hiding. It is a beautiful place, but it is trapped inside it nonetheless. A beautiful, tranquil prison laced with fear.

The Lord is speaking to His church: “The harvest is plentiful and the workers few. Who shall I send?”

“Lord!” I cry out, “Send me!”

Jesus stands at a doorway and knocks. I realise He’s knocking for me. I might be afraid of what’s beyond the door, but am I prepared to leave my beloved Jesus out there when He wants to come in? I cry out for courage and come to the door. Jesus embraces me there and blesses me with that wonderful peace that surpasses all understanding. He turns me around to face the world outside. He is patient and waits while I adjust to the view beyond Him. There are people out there. He instructs me to look into their eyes. As I look, I see a need for love in every one.

He takes me outside and introduces me to people from all walks of life – workers afraid that they won’t be able to make ends meet, mothers who are afraid for their children, shoppers drowning out stress with spending, addicts who have long ago given up hope of anything, seeking only escape, teenagers afraid of the future, children who want their parents to get on……. Yes, they do things they shouldn’t, but there’s no condemnation anywhere. Only Jesus’ desire to let them know that He is with each and every one of them and that they are truly loved.

Their needs undo my fear. How can I be afraid when there are so many who simply want a touch from the King, and when I have been given the Words of life? Those I speak to are so thankful for a simple smile and word of encouragement. As they hear how precious they are to our Father in heaven, many cry, because these are words they had long lost hope of hearing, and many, hearing genuine words of approval and love, spoken from God’s heart, walk forward into the wonderful future He has planned for them.

After a while I am free to return to my basement. I enjoy it there and sometimes it’s hard to leave, but the memory of all those hearts waiting for God’s touch stirs me to go back out again. And again. And again……….

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