What is it like to be one of those whose names are written in the Book of Life? The following is only a fictional metaphor of how I see it:
I found a golden chest one day, buried in the field. It was small and it was covered with grime, but in curiousity I dug it out and cleaned it and opened it up. And what did I find inside but nine little jewels sparkling like the sun. They had names on them: love and joy, peace and patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness and self-control.
I closed the chest and hugged it to my heart. It was too beautiful for words. It was what my heart had long desired without ever realising it!
Nearby, I noticed something glimmering in the sunlight under a bush. I went to explore, and there I found some more magnificent gems. These were a brilliant diamond named Truth, a bright red ruby labelled Faith and a soft blue sapphire with Humility inscribed upon it. I opened my chest and added them to my collection. I was the happiest man in the world! How could a poor man like me have come upon such unimaginable wealth?
But it wasn’t wealth in the normal sense, I realised. Wealth is only wealth if you are ready to spend it to buy something else you need. Here I had everything I needed, and I would NEVER part with my chest, nor the smallest of its contents. If wealth is to already have everything you need, then I was the wealthiest man in the world!
The days and years passed, and I kept that chest clung close to my heart at all times, for I loved it. Whenever I needed nourishment or encouragement, help or comfort, I would find it in the contents of that golden chest.
And I clung to it with everything I had. It wasn’t easy. For sometimes, it changed…
I clung to it grimly when once I was swimming across a deep swirling river and the golden chest suddenly turned into a heavy stone that weighed me down and seemed to be sucking me into the cold dark depths. But I would not let it go. Better to drown and have my golden chest than to live without it.
And I clung to it when it suddenly changed into a life preserver, full of a Spirit lighter than air, that smoothly lifted me back into the fresh clean air above the river, and dried me off and took away my fears.
I clung to it when it became icy cold and threatened to freeze my heart to the hardness of stone. It ached and hurt more than I can describe, yet I clung to it with all my strength, for what is my heart without my golden chest? No, I would not let it go.
And I clung to it when a fire was ignited within it and engulfed it, and my heart with it. A roaring blaze, an ecstasy of undiluted Joy that scorched my heart with its power, for hearts like mine are not made for such temperatures. Yet I clung to it, for to let it go would have shrivelled my heart far more than any flame.
And I clung to it when it became a soothing ointment, after the ice and the flame, that was balm to my heart and brought the sweetest, sweetest relief and pleasure.
I clung to my golden chest through these and many more trials besides. I clung to it, because I had invited it to become a part of me, and it had accepted. To lose it would be to lose myself – I would no longer be me, but someone else without it. If I had let it go, my heart would had gone with it, for it had become one with my heart, and there was no instrument or surgeon in the world who could separate them from each other.
My Golden Chest is me, and I am my Golden Chest. I will never let it go, whatever happens. In fact, I don’t think it possible any longer for me to let it go. And I am most content that that should be so, for I love my Golden Chest with every fibre and sinew of my being.