My mother-in-law bought me a beautiful book for my birthday (hello 55). It’s called Teatime Discipleship, by Sally Clarkson. Sally writes about the tea, finger sandwiches, and candle she sets out on her tea cart when she has a friend over. “Beauty is God’s calling card,” she says. Last week we had a few friends over for dinner. “Wow, linen napkins,” said one of the guys. Yes, linen napkins and candles and pretty table cloths, because beauty speaks.
What is a calling card anyway? In the 19th century, it was a piece of paper that had a person’s name on it in fancy script, used as a means of social visiting etiquette. If a woman were to visit a friend and that friend was away, she would leave her calling card with the household servant, who would place it in a silver tray at the entrance.
Satan leaves a calling card, too.
Jesus says there is no truth in the devil, because he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44) You can tell when the devil has been somewhere, because clever deceptions sit in the silver tray at the front entrance, with etiquette as a social pretense. In Victorian times, the leaving of a calling card carried with it the unspoken expectation that the visit would be returned by the recipient. I visited you, you visit me. But if the devil leaves his card, that’s where the social interaction needs to stop.
Has the devil visited your marriage and left his calling card? Has he visited your mind and left his calling card? Has he visited your friendships and left his calling card? Do you see his name in elegant script, lying there in that silver tray by your front door?
Murderer. Destroyer. Father of lies.
Stare long at the tray. Where is God? If you can see that the enemy has come calling, can you see also that God has visited? Can you see truth and beauty lying there in unadorned, simple print?
For me, I see God has been to my door over and over again, through friends who have stayed faithful in dark days. A hymn that rings true. A well-timed Bible verse written on a birthday card. A dozen yellow roses sitting on my windowsill. A little grandboy who demands “hold you.” Grown children who are kind to me. A husband who will bring in the 12-foot ladder, to replace the battery in one of my candles up high. The full moon reflecting bright against the snow in the middle of the night. Juicy orange slices. An encouraging text. The calling cards of God.
The devil comes again and again, to wear us down, to make us think only brokenness is knocking at the door. Makes a person dread being home. Makes a person tired, bone tired. But the Father of truth comes too, as a welcome guest. Let him wear a path to the front entry. See all of his goodness, and help your brothers and sisters see God as the warm visitor who comes and comes and comes as the well-intentioned caller. Makes a person want to be home. Makes a person want to be the one to open the door.