As we continued to walk I could notice the structures, the street names and some other things in this part of town looked very similar to the prosperous house we just left. But here I could see that even the trees that lined the streets were dead or dying. The streets were littered with trash and there were potholes in almost every part of the road. This was quite a sight. As we made our final turn toward our destination, it dawned on me that we were revisiting the same house of prayer but many years after our first visit. I saw people everywhere. But these people had pain and anxiety written on their faces.
When we got to the building, the first remarkable thing I saw were security guards. They were all over the place. They were pushing people around, suspecting, harassing and policing everyone. They were checking the bags of those that were coming in and of those that were going out.
The first level we walked into was the hall of shields. This is where the gold shields, gold bars, gold plates, and all kinds and forms of gold were. This is the same level that had all kinds of precious stones of indescribable value. When we walked into this level everything still looked the same. The shining, the glittering and the throne were still there, but the weight of the glory that I experienced at this level was absent. I could not tell what was missing because everything seemed to be in its place, but the visible joy and the freedom that was present was not there. There was a guard standing by every shield and every precious thing. Before I could open my mouth to ask any question Wisdom said, “This is not gold, this is wood and other cheap metals. They look like gold because they are painted to look like gold. The gold items and all those precious stones that were here are gone. They were taken away by Shishak, the spirit of this world. They are replaced by cheap articles that look like the real thing. The absence of the glory left the building vulnerable and made it possible for the thieves to steal the precious things of the house of the Lord. Because the glory is gone there is great anxiety in the house. The custodians of the house have taken great measures and devised strategies to secure the house, but these strategies were not of the Lord. Come and I will show you more.” He then took me from one level to another. It was a very sad experience. This house has been raped of her glory and her precious oils were gone. Her maternity ward was baby-less. It was depressingly silent. They turned it into a library filled with books on how to make babies but the few cribs left here were empty. What used to be filled with new babies everyday was now empty. Then I saw men and women walking around on this level with swollen bellies. They were either too weak to push out their overdue and dying babies, or their big and bulging bellies were filled with empty wind.
Part of the maternity was now being used by an army of psychologists. These were recruited by the present custodians of the house to teach fruitless adults how to manage their lives and how to be satisfied with their barren lives. These miserable counselors insisted that it was the will of the King that they should remain childless and that their contentment as childless citizens will actually glorify the King. The main concern of the people on this floor was for themselves. This was now a house of selfishness. There was no zeal for the glory of the Lord of Hosts. They had a “good” explanation for why this disease of shame, emptiness and barrenness afflicted this holy place. The aim of these explanations was to comfort and keep the saints from the holy restlessness that causes them to cry out day and night. Yet there were those among them that would rather die than remain barren one more day.
As if the story of the maternity ward were not bad enough, I walked into the once House of Bread. There was hardly any bread here. The only bread here was brought in from the outside and many waited in line to have a little piece of it. Of all the levels, this was where the problem of this house was most noticeable. I could not stop crying for the sadness and the starvation on the faces that I saw in the House of Bread. This was too much for me to bear; my sobbing turned into a loud and audible cry. I wept and kept asking the question why? Why? Why can’t someone bake some bread? Where are the fruit for the fruit table and those that hung on the walls? Where are the dishes that use to be here for the hungry to be fed? The water fountains that lined the walls of the halls were still there looking better than ever. But there was no water coming from them. The few that had water coming from them were either too dirty or too lukewarm to swallow and they could not quench anyone’s thirst. I was weeping, brokenhearted, and drenched with tears. There was no food in the house of the Lord. As the poor were struggling to manage the little bread left in one part of this level, another group of people were in a different part of the level selling and buying bread. They were making deals with the rich to serve them the bulk of the bread in the house.
Then Wisdom put His hand on my shoulder and said, “Let me take you to where the problem is.” We walked to the basement level. As we entered into this level Wisdom said, “The fresh bread that was served at the fifth level of the house was baked here and so was every good thing of this house. They all came through this level.” I noticed that the couches and beds that used to be on the seventh floor were now in the basement floor. Also the fancy conference tables were here on this floor. The office equipment and chairs were also here. Those who were supposed to be praying were either sleeping or too busy with many of life’s very important demands. They pushed prayer out of their schedules and considered it too unimportant to invest their precious hours, resources and manpower. They were still very diligent and displayed a great skill in management and administration of the house. In their wisdom they almost had everything in place. They had a good explanation for the things that were not in place. But the present leaders of this house never admitted that the lack of all-out prayer was the source of the present distress. Those that admitted it never had enough courage to do anything about it. And yet some of them completely denied the existence of any problems at all. “All is well, we have it under control,” is their response
Most of the engine room was now turned into classrooms and a library for the knowledge of everything; there were books everywhere I looked. The people I saw at this level were very busy, serious- looking, and well-dressed people.