They say that thousands of people around the world are dying for their faith. But, I am not. No, I come and go from work, on a bike, in a car, on foot, with complete confidence of my safety, but never do I stop to tell the people with whom I work about Christ. How can I? What if I did it at the wrong time and I offended them? What if they disagree, because who am I to tell them, I know perfectly well that I am no different… but then again, God never expected me to stop being human. And what about the fact that I have lived my life in a world that focused so much on helping others know Christ that I forgot that I am supposed to know Christ. And now I want them to know him, but I can’t forget…. They don’t understand. A Hindu leader once said that a truth repeated is no truth at all. In many ways that’s flat out false, if I tell you it rained today it won’t eliminate the fact that it rained, yet sometimes I think to a certain extent it’s true. I can tell you all I want to about my friends, but until you meet them face to face you will not know them. But, if I tell you about God, and then you go and meet Him, then you will know Him more, because you also know how He looks from other’s eyes.
The goal in my life stopped being to go out there and save the world, but today I was reminded of a passion to save the world. Yesterday, I was reminded my relationship with God comes first. Christians are like fire flies: we aren’t light itself, but we have moments when we light up and grow, and remind you of REAL light, God’s light.
Or maybe we’re more like windows. If we open up the curtains to our hearts, God will shine through. But the thing is, to do that you don’t have to have the name Christian. You need more. You need a relationship with Jesus, and the brighter He shines in your own life, the brighter He shines out the window. But here’s the tricky part, it’s not about opening the curtains of the window twenty four seven, it’s about opening the front door to your house. Tears were driven to my eyes today because people are dying, but the only way that I can show them how the light works is if I open the door. (Oh, I don’t think this means you can’t keep your bedroom door shut if you need to, for you and God, or you and God and a few treasured loved ones, but that doesn’t mean you don’t let people in.) And what I mean by letting them in is this: you don’t judge them as people who are OUT. Yes, people who don’t know God are indeed out, but you and I have a limited perspective and it may drive us nuts that they aren’t worshipping God, but it is only ours to speak to the rock (see Numbers 20) not strike it when we strike it we stop our worship. God never said not to get angry or frustrated, but we are not God: Jesus was the one who dumped the market stalls in the temple, Peter only spoke in it. Yes, thousands are dying, thousands have to walk through life without knowing God at all, and thousands outright choose to disregard Him. Some choose to walk on the edge of heresy, others so close to the conservative line you have to wonder if they are Pharisees, but this remains: God can heal the heart. You never know who will turn around and help you, or who God is using. God used an unbeliever to change my life forever. It is not ours to judge, but it is not ours to stay silent either. The Christian has been ordered to use their words to speak.
But your value will never come from sharing your faith or how well you wear the face of a “believer.” Ultimately our values come from God. Even growing in a relationship with Him won’t make us matter more. But the more we know God, the more we know about God the more we will grow to understand our own, and maybe then another’s value. But, I want you know God; not only as a tool to help you know that you’re valuable, that’s a byproduct…
I have a friend who helps me write, I don’t love her only because she reads my work. But her reading my work has bound us together: the little comments and smiley faces and her defining my writing process as turning a cow into a giraffe told me something about her. She stepped into my life by reading my work, it was my choice about whether or not to get to know her. Then, after that I got to know her as someone much more complex, who is more than I will ever know: I have gotten a glimpse of this irrational tendency to make a million new friends, a person who doesn’t really stop to think but figures life out as she goes, and who desperately needs her quiet time in the morning. And the thing is, I got to know God better through her, just as I came to understand her better through meeting her family. Now, my relationship with her does not depend on her reading my work… I don’t love her because I spent hours talking to her comments in my empty bedroom, but because of who she is. Her help with my writing just opened the door, and still carries on into our friendship as a rich element of love. In a way, that’s how it is with the cross. I love the cross, that symbol of victory (take note of the fact that the cross is empty,) but the cross alone is not who God.
I hope you get to know Him not only as your savior, but as your Lord. It is the beginning of eternal life, even if today is just as shadow of what is to come. It is the greatest and first commandment. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul…” And by the way, it’s okay if we get discouraged, I don’t think getting to know God is easy. He doesn’t always do what we want, and we can’t see Him or touch Him and all I, at least, have is this vague feeling that He’s there or wants me to do something… but do not fear, it is not by Moses’ power that the red sea was opened, that he found a burning bush, or saw the back of God. God is “I AM,” and I wouldn’t be surprised if, like Moses, He revealed Himself to you if you ask. And like in the books of Moses, I wouldn’t be surprised if God reveals Himself to you even before you ask. Remember God’s promise, “I will be with you.” Not only to Moses and the Israelites, but also to the disciples, also to the Christians (Matt 28:20).