“Yet there is Room!” (Luke 14v22)

As far as I remember it was on a cold evening approaching Christmas that I first spotted the lone caravan on a narrow country road close to our home. ‘Travelling folks,’ I thought, as I glanced at it on my way home to prepare dinner. Somehow I knew that the Lord wanted me to talk to the occupants but busy as I was, I hurriedly drove past, resolving to return as soon as possible. I did call several times, only to find them gone and one day (to my dismay) the caravan too had disappeared.

Then the following Easter the caravan returned again to the very same location. This time, despite the fact that no one was in, I left some gifts in a safe place and a little booklet entitled “If you had been the only one… He would still have died for you!” One evening I returned to find the little caravan occupied. Now, at last, I could meet the owners! Parking my car some distance away, I apprehensively walked up and knocked my knuckles on the cold metal door. To my surprise it swung open and a friendly face beamed at me. “Were you the person who left the booklet and the gifts? Thank you so much!  Please do come in… ” Looking over her shoulder at the many faces within, I felt that to get in would be impossible! “Oh, thank you but… it’s o.k.”  I faltered awkwardly. “I just wanted to be sure you got the stuff I left.” I was embarrassed at my own reaction to their overcrowded circumstances, yet at the same time touched and humbled by the hospitality of that traveller lady.

Many years ago my father struck up acquaintance with an elderly Romany Gypsy man who had travelled over from England. The elderly man in question had just one eye, the other having been put out by a briar springing back on him. He was touring Ireland in his old Romany caravan with his middle-aged daughter, both pleasant friendly people, as I recall. I will always remember one evening, seeing the light of the camp-fire as they cooked their evening meal. I thought of my own limited conversation with the travelling folk I had met just recently and compared it to my father’s witness to the Romany gypsies all those years ago. How relaxed he was when he spoke to them!

I don’t remember my precise exchange of words with the lady in the crowded caravan, but I do pray that the Lord took my feeble inadequate words and spoke to that family, as only He can. As a naturally shy person, I often get tongue-tied, especially when trying to talk to people who are of a different background to me but the Lord has taught me that I should not “respect persons.” (James 2v9)  The local Rector or the ‘lord of the manor’ may quite well be more difficult to reach with spiritual truths than someone from the “travelling community!” It is my sincere desire that the Lord would use me; that I would learn to be natural with people, whatever their circumstances – and how differing those circumstances can be! I have encountered those who live in vast mansions, akin to castles, yet the door has been opened but narrowly and reluctantly – if at all. No welcoming voice has invited me in. On the other hand, I have visited a small one-storey dwelling with only one bedroom, one box room and a family of six children and their parents, where the mother has invited me in for tea. Despite education and widespread affluence, there remains that great gulf in our society between rich and poor and the people we meet are as diverse and interesting as the dwellings they live in.

Oh that the Lord would assist me to proclaim His name to all these differing individuals and that these words of St. Paul would be apply to me… “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1Cor. 9v19-22)

That little caravan was so full of people! Perhaps I would have fitted in – perhaps not. Certainly I didn’t want to take anyone’s seat. Unlike Heaven there may not have been room for just one more person. In this context, George Frazer’s hymn “Come, Hear the Gospel Sound” comes to mind. Born in CountyLeitrim in 1840, George found the Saviour in the Great Revival of 1859/60 in the city of Dublin. There was ‘no room’ in the meeting for George on the night that God spoke to his heart, but by climbing up to a second storey windowsill, he was able to hear those life-changing words: “Yet there is room.” (Luke 14v22) After two weeks of deep conviction, he trusted the Lord for salvation. He was then twenty years old and soon he began writing verse to the glory of his new Master. Much later he recalled that night at the crowded gospel meeting where the Lord spoke to him as he sat on a windowsill, and the hymn “Come, Hear the Gospel Sound” was born. How beautifully it fits in with his conversion experience!

Come! Hear the gospel sound –

“Yet there is room!”

It tells to all around –

“Yet there is room!”

Though guilty, now draw near,

Though vile, you need not fear,

With joy you now may hear –

“Yet there is room!”

God’s love in Christ we see –

“Yet there is room!”

Greater it could not be –

“Yet there is room!”

His only Son He gave,

He’s righteous now to save

All who on Him believe –

“Yet there is room!”

“All things are ready: come!”

“Yet there is room!”

Christ everything hath done –

“Yet there is room!”

The work is now complete,

“Before the mercy-seat,”

A Saviour you shall meet –

“Yet there is room!”

God’s house is filling fast –

“Yet there is room!”

Some soul will be the last –

“Yet there is room!”

Yes, soon Salvation’s day

From you will pass away,

Then grace will no more say –

“Yet there is room!”

George West Frazer

(1840-1896)

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