Saturday, April 27, 2013

Less Miserable

     Pat and I were walking into the movie theatre a few months ago when I was tickled by a conversation behind us.
     A women’s voice was complaining, “Less Miserable.  Who would want to see a movie about being less miserable?”
     “Huh?”  was the response from her companion.
     “Really, that’s kind of a downer," she continued.  "No one wants to be less miserable, they want to be happy.”
     “Actually, I think the movie is Les Miserable.  It’s French.” the companion enlightened her.
     Pat and I did see Les Miserable a few weeks later.  Les Miserables is based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel set during the period of the French Revolution.  It is about a man named Jean Valjean who is imprisoned for 19 years for the crime of stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family.  He becomes known as Prisoner 24601.    Valjean is fleeing from a tenacious inspector when he finds shelter at the home of a Bishop.  The conversation between Valjean and the Bishop struck me.    
     "Monsieur le Cure," said the man, "you are good; you do not despise me.  You receive me into your house.  You light your candles for me. I have not concealed from you that I am an unfortunate man."
     The Bishop, who was sitting close to him, gently touched his hand. "You could not help telling me who you were. This is not my house; it is the house of Jesus Christ. This door does not demand of him who enters whether he has a name, but whether he has a grief. You suffer, you are hungry and thirsty; you are welcome. And do not thank me; do not say that I receive you in my house. No one is at home here, except the man who needs a refuge. I say to you, who are passing by, that you are much more at home here than I am myself. Everything here is yours. What need have I to know your name?  Besides, before you told me, you had one which I knew.
     The man opened his eyes in astonishment.  "Really? You know what I was called?"
     "Yes," replied the Bishop, "You are called my brother."  ~Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
      Can you hear the depth of a Father’s love?  "This door does not demand of him who enters whether he has a name, but whether he has a grief,"  and “You are called my brother.”
     Isn’t that the way God receives us?  We come to Him poor, in need, filthy with sin.  We are not turned away.  He accepts us as we are with the stench of our sin still on us.  Even before we confess our history of sin to Him we are welcomed.  We are brought to a banqueting table filled with the riches of His grace.  God brings out the fine silverware and the precious silver candlesticks.  He does not withhold anything.  Everything He has is ours.  We do not deserve the gifts that He lavishes upon us.  Even more astonishing, He sits beside us as friend and gently touches our pain.
       Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
  and let his banner over me be love.  ~Song of Songs 2:4
     What gift has He lavished on you?

So flattered to say that this post was featured by the fabulous Richella at Imparting Grace!


Simply Sherryl said...

Too funny! Our household had a laugh at this story. Funny how we see something and our mind goes one way... totally off base.

Kathleen Caron said...

This is why I love Les Miserables (both movie and book) because it is a beautiful story about God's mercy and grace. The bishop is much to be emulated, and so refreshing when often clergy are depicted as depraved and hypocritical in popular media. Funny story about the conversation, btw.

a joyful noise said...

We had to read that in Jr High and to me it was "miserable." :-) Actually the movie was excellent and I was more mature by then.

a joyful noise said...

Thank you for sharing your post at "Tell Me a Story." We should be able to see our Father's Love even in a miserable situation.:-)

caryjo said...

WOW!! What a beautiful way of adjusting/sharing. Really touched my heart, filled with encouragement.

Marie said...

Beautiful! The book and movie have many relevant words for life. Hopping here from Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop.

Marie @

Jennifer @ said...

So glad you've linked with us... Crazy God-incidence ... you're the second blogger in a row that I've visited speaking about God's banner over us!

Charlotte said...

Beautiful story, and I enjoyed the movie. Bought the book many years ago but never could get into it. It is huge. Thank you for sharing this with us on Spiritual Sundays.

Pamela said...

Oh my, I've heard it called that a couple times, too. Regardless of the pronunciation it is a beautiful story of grace and redemption. I'm so happy they made it into a movie but I loved the book, too.

Unknown said...

Oh Donna, how could I not follow someone who's blog is called Holy-mess? I found you over at Imparting Grace and I love this post! What has He lavished on me? I am blessed beyond my wildest imaginings and it isn't in the ways that most people think of . . . cars, trips, money . . . but it is in being used by God. He took my own holy mess and gave me a story of hope to share with others. That is my greatest joy in life.

I'm following you on Bloglovin' and I hope you'll come on over and visit me sometime at OldThingsNew.

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