You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. (Psalm 139:1)
Every child has a favorite place, and mine was a farm my dad used to take me regularly. But the best part about it was the little shack at the end of a dock over the creek that was built strictly for children. Of course I loved the pony-rides too, and petting the small animals in the barn, but there were times when all I really wanted to do was go in my little one-roomed house by myself. My father could hardly stand up in it, so he let me go in there alone and waited for me on land.
It was built as a tiny steeple, with a pointed roof and two rows of short rough wood pews inside. The five windows were yellow tinted and there was a shelf on the front window that held a big book. I used to thumb through it and try to pronounce the big words in it and read between the little numbers but it was beyond my understanding at such a young age.
My favorite thing to do in there was to sit on the benches and just enjoy the quiet. The sun shown bright through the windows on me, keeping me warm and I felt safe because I never felt alone in there. Though I never saw anyone else ever go in there, I felt like someone was there with me anyway, like an invisible friend. I talked to him and just enjoyed his company, though I never named him. He just always made me feel happy and calm, and was there every time, waiting.
When I grew up and that farm sold and closed up, and my dad had died too, I never forgot that special little church on the docks. One year I was especially stressed and decided to take a trip to the shore for a day and wrote about that tiny church and that special warm quiet hush that welcomed me, and how that memory never fails to make me feel better. Shortly after, I went on a spontaneous trip to Niagara Falls for a weekend, a place I had always wanted to see. And I needed adventure so I stayed on the Canadian side of the Falls. While driving to Niagara on the Lake, the little town outside the tourist area, I came upon a very small steeple. It was no bigger than a small garage and had familiar yellow tinted windows. The sign by the street called it The Wayside Chapel. I pulled into the parking space and with my camera, ran to the door. Didn’t I just write this memory a few weeks ago? And here it is – although a bigger size, it was almost exactly like the tiny steeple my dad used to take me regularly as a kid!
Wayside Chapel, almost exact same chapel as in my childhood memories
Inside the same quiet warm hush greeted me, a longtime friend waiting for my return, even though in a different place. The sun shown just as bright through the windows and the inside was almost the same as that tiny place from my childhood. After the initial tears of disbelief, I perused the bible up front, read some Psalms, then sat on the rough benches in the sunlight and prayed. No doubt this trip was divinely planned! How blessed I felt to have such a wonderful memory revived again for me to enjoy!
I came to understand that it was the Lord who had been with me in that tiny steeple as a child, and I only had to think of Him and He was there with me no matter where I went. And I now appreciate that He especially knows our every special wish and memory and He loves to bless us with them all the time.
Years have passed since that trip, but everywhere I go, I still come across a chapel of some sort, always empty and open and waiting for me quietly. Even when I travel far away, the Lord Father meets me there, waiting to listen and visit. He continually lets me know He always has a hand on my shoulder and directs my paths. I could not ask for a better Friend or Savior.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me,
and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.