Last night I had the awesome privilege to attend a worship service in our community called Metro Worship. It involves youth groups from all over Tulsa who get together and worship. It was awesome. The music was awesome, the whole idea behind it, getting together as One Body to celebrate our love for Jesus despite our differences, awesome.
Most of the music were songs speaking about love. His love for us, our love for Him. As I looked around at the students, hundreds of them, I wondered. Do they really know? Do they know what this whole love thing is about? Do I know? I so wanted to run up to a few and shake them by the shoulders and ask them in desperation, "Do you really know?" Now, of course, I didn't, wouldn't unless I really felt spurred on by the Lord but I don't think He would want me to do that either. He doesn't need me for that. But it really got the wheels turning.This event combined with a couple of recent conversations with a few friends of mine has inspired this blog post.
I wish people would just give Him a chance. You know the kind of people I'm talking about. You probably have family or friends or coworkers who have decided against God. They may have had an inaccurate impression or a bad experience or circumstance that has caused them to judge God in a way He is not to be judged and for whatever reason they've said "no" to Him. I'm not saying these people are unreachable, in fact my hope and faith is that they are not. But, it's these people my heart breaks for the most. I care about those who have never heard His name. I was a missionary for 2 years so my heart is heavily burdened for those people. But right now, my heart breaks for those who think they know what's going on, who think they know all about God and have rejected Him. I just want to scream at the injustice of it. I honestly believe that if a person has a true encounter, if they totally surrender...they could never go back. We all make mistakes and we all probably have a tendency to "backslide" but you can't deny the life altering change that takes place after being exposed to the magnitude of love He has for you.
I want to look all of these people in the face and say, "Just give Him a chance. Test Him and see that He is who He says He is. It's ok to do that. I think that's what He meant when He said "Test me." He didn't mean go jump off a cliff and see if I'll catch you. I believe He meant "Give me a chance!" Let go of your pride or what you think you know and cry out to Him. See if He doesn't change your life. He already knows all there is to know about you. He knows your heart. He knows the secret things, that you don't really like to read the Bible, that you spend most of your time running from Him, or that you truly wish harm on another person. He knows you lie, you cheat, you steal, He knows it all and still He loves you. Why not be completely honest with him? He's the one person you can be honest with because He knows anyway. Why not experience a true honest relationship with someone? He loves you. Just give Him a chance. What do you have to loose?"
I know this is kind of heavy. But I feel responsible, a bit, for anyone who just doesn't know. I mean what is this life? Why are we here? What's the point? Can you imagine what it must be like to not know? To get up, go to work, eat, go to bed? That's not life! He is an experiential God. He wants you to know Him. He hasn't hidden himself. He wants to talk to you. He wants you to talk to Him. Why? Why does He delight in me so? Who am I? I don't understand it all. We sang last night the words, "When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory....and I realize how great Your affections are for me." This is what happens when we get close to Him. All those things that kept us away from Him are totally eclipsed by glory, by Him. They become nothing!
Romans 8 NASB
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
So what do we do? Since rare are those opportunities to literally shake and yell at person and actually have them get anything you're talking about. Well I think we trust Him. I'm pretty confident it's a priority for Him. We pray. I've often felt a bit futile while praying for others. I've often felt like, "well doesn't it all boil down to that person making a choice?" The short answer is "Yes" but He is moved by our prayers and nothing is impossible for them that believe. This I know. And we stay burdened for those who have yet to have a true encounter with His love. It's kind of the point. If we stay awake, opportunities will present themselves. And finally, we hope. This brings me back to Romans 8 in the NASB
24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.