I grew up in a tiny town in Missouri that no one had ever heard of. Every third year our family had enough money to go on vacation. Our vacation was a single overnight stay in a town 45 minutes away. A town that had a water park, a rollercoaster, go carts, a live show, a lake, and a few motels on a road that everything was built on called “the strip.” This town grew as I grew and now it is a tourist destination for the world. Branson, Missouri. Maybe you’ve heard of it, or maybe you’ve even visited.
That was our family vacation spot for one night every third year. I have many memories there. We would roll into town in our metallic forest green 1972 Monte Carlo, drive down the strip and read the motel signs. We were searching for a motel with a vacancy sign.
Remember those signs? In the high season, the signs would turn away visitors advertising NO VACANCY. There’s no room available for you here. Keep looking. Then you finally find one that says VACANCY and you know, there’s room for you there.
On one particular year our much anticipated overnight stay in Branson landed us in Ben’s Wishing Well Hotel because it was the only vacancy. There was more smoke in the air than there was oxygen, and quarters that operated the bed’s massaging system. There were much more desirable motels in town, but there was no vacancy. Ben’s Wishing Well was available, so it’s where we went.
I wonder what the sign outside of your life has said? NO VACANCY. There isn’t room for more. I’m too busy. I’m overwhelmed. There’s no space here. I’m at max capacity.
And what if Jesus was the one looking for space?
What if he was the one looking for an opening to come and dwell? A place to bring his supernatural. An opening for his power. An availability for his presence.
But you had no vacancy. You were all filled up with places to go and things to do. So much noise, so much busy, so much distraction and overwhelm. There couldn’t possibly be room for something more.
So Jesus with all his power, Jesus with all his provision, Jesus with all his goodness that far outweighs anything you could have possibly had going on, continued down the strip in search of another place to enter. Another life with a vacancy for him.
He wanted your life. He choose you. But your NO VACANCY sign has been lit up for years.
… until it wasn’t …
Now, we find ourselves with vacancy.
What we had just a month ago is suddenly gone. Much that kept us so busy and preoccupied is now shut-down. The noise and the chaos has slowed to a pace we’re not familiar with. Lives that were once over capacity are now empty with no where to go and nothing to do. Uncertainty and fear are our only occupants and they aren’t paying customers, they just take.
There was once no time here in this life. There was once no space here in my days. But now … I’ve got time.
Maybe you could say the same.
Now, I’ve got space. I have a VACANCY where there was once a job. I have a VACANCY where there were once plans. I have a VACANCY where I used to feel certain. I have a VACANCY in places I’ve never known in a capacity other than filled.
And Jesus says … NOW SHE’S AVAILABLE! Now I can come in! This vacancy means there is space for me.
And honey when Jesus shows up on the scene, when he dwells in the openings of your life, THINGS CHANGE. When Jesus sees a VACANCY his response is “I CAN FILL THAT!”
What did you have a month ago that you no longer have today? That open space is now a vacancy. You can view it as a setback and misfortune. And maybe right now that’s how it feels because that’s exactly what it represents at this moment. I’m so sorry for every single thing you’ve lost. I’m so sorry for the jobs that have ended, the companies shutting down, the paychecks that aren’t being delivered, the plans that have been cancelled, the lives literally put on hold. In whatever way this has negatively affected you, I’m truly sorry. My heart has ached over each of the stories I’ve heard and I’ve whispered more prayers over complete strangers than ever before.
I can’t replace what you’ve lost. I can’t fill the spaces where your life is now empty. BUT JESUS CAN!
He looks for vacancies, open spaces, empty places, cancelled plans, and available lives and THIS IS WHERE HE SETS UP SHOP! This is where he dwells. This is where he works. This is where the impossible becomes possible.
In Mark 10 a man comes to Jesus and asks him what he would have to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus’ answer comes in verse 21 “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
It says the man went away sad because he had great wealth.
I understand this story more than ever. Was it all about money? No, I don’t believe so. Jesus doesn’t need my money, nor is he after yours. THIS WAS ABOUT SPACE.
This man’s life was so full of whatever he had done to build his wealth and all that he had bought with that wealth. His life had the NO VACANCY sign lit up. All Jesus wanted was space. He said let go of all that and make room for me.
I’ve found when I’m not willing to create space, Jesus allows my life to be touched by disappointments, delays and sometimes even destruction. My life was too busy. My world was too loud. My plans were too self-centered. And my space was really, really, really filled.
Now, there is vacancy.
Jesus works with vacancy!
I wonder how many times God has had a great big beautiful blessing for me; an answer to my prayers, but when Jesus showed up to deliver it to me, the NO VACANCY sign was lit up. I’ve been so guilty of building things on my own and crowding Jesus right out of my space.
How about you?
So, now you have space? You have vacancies in your life? Openings that make you uncomfortable and the future uncertain. INVITE JESUS IN!
Jesus, I have a job vacancy, come fill it with YOU. Your plans are better than my plans. I trust you will replace what I had with something even better to put me in alignment with the life I was created for.
Jesus, I have a major time vacancy, come fill it with YOU. My schedule has been cleared. I don’t even know what day it is because suddenly it doesn’t even really matter. What matters is this is a day you have made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it. I will give you my praise. I will spend time with you because now I have time like never before.
For those who now have the VACANCY sign lit in their lives with available space and time, let us remember those who do not. Those who are working like never before to keep life going for us. Those on the front lines and those behind the scenes. Those who are lacking sleep and sacrificing their families for ours. I bet they would gladly trade one of their days for yours. They have NO VACANCY so you know what a good neighbor does … a good neighbor says “Hey Jesus, they’re overwhelmed right now, so you come stay in my open space but let’s give them the benefit.”
Yes, if you have time, spend a bit of your time sending Jesus to those who now have no time.
If you have an availability, use what you have to share Jesus with those who don’t.
I promise you this, when Jesus comes on the scene, he brings with him BETTER than anything you ever had before. He fills those empty spaces with something more valuable. He replaces what was lost with something you never saw coming, and you can trust that something will be good. Because he has GOOD PLANS FOR YOU. Plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.