From August 9, 2013
Last night we rolled up to the campsite overlooking the lake, tucked away into the lap of the surrounding mountains. We cooked hamburgers, made s’mores, and retired to the tent where we continued to laugh and tell stories for another three hours. In the morning, we rose to cook eggs, tater tots, and ham, chased by milk and orange juice.
After our feast of a breakfast, we wandered over to the lake to hike up, off the trail, to the source of the waterfall a mile up. After drinking from the streamhead, we climbed down and returned to the car four hours later. We sped back down the mountains so I could meet with a friend of mine at Starbucks. Needless to say, the past few days have spun past me in a blur.
I presently sit in that Starbucks, where countess book clubs, Bible Studies, and conversations are taking place. I’ve nested up in a spot by the window to see the phenomenal lightning show outside.
I have not yet selected a course in which to direct this post, yet there are some things I need to say. I need to deliver some wisdom God has poured out on me the past few days. (Some of you may be wondering what sort of wisdom can be gleaned from a hopelessly romanticized twenty-something college student, to which I answer “I have no idea.” It’s God’s wisdom, not my own.)
On my trip up the mountain though, I fell deep into conversation with a dear friend of mine who has been in a rough season of life lately. I prayed that Holy Spirit would speak through me, and He sure did. All I could do was speak truth to her encouraging, compassionate, and joyful nature, and remind her what God thinks of her. Not other people. Not even her family. But God. What does He think of her? And what does He think of all of us?
He loves us. He even likes us.
I feel like we so often forget that, preferring to work for His love, trying to earn it. Because that makes more sense to us. We don’t simply “get” love, because nothing is free. Nothing is unwarranted.
But then, we are repeatedly pointed to scripture, in which God is referred to as “The Father.” What does this mean, except that He loves us, and does so perfectly! What does an infant DO to earn the love of his or her father? Not a darn thing. They simply emerge into the ecosystem called ‘earth,’ and are instantly dependent on their parents until they are of age to move out. How does a baby repay his father? He doesn’t. And nor do we ever repay God for what He has done for us. So quit working for it.
But while I sit in this thunder-shrouded coffee shop on the edge of summer, I am reminded of something else. David Platt, when he spoke at Moody, used a superb illustration which I found myself reflecting on while overlooking the scenery from my vantage point on the canyon. To paraphrase, he compared salvation to someone being hit by a bus. He said “what if I walked in here today, five minutes late? They called my name for a few minutes, until finally I sprinted up to the stage. I took the mic and said, ‘sorry I’m late everyone, I got hit by a bus. Crazy, I know! I was walking to the school when a bus hit me on the street! Full speed!’ You wouldn’t believe me, would you? No, because when someone gets hit by a bus, they don’t look the same. They don’t move the same. Someone who was just hit by a bus is NOTICEABLY different from someone who wasn’t. I think Christianity is like this. People will tell you they are Christians; that they have met Jesus. But their life looks just like someone who hasn’t met Jesus! They may not party, drink, cuss, or sleep around, but their lives simply don’t look that different from everyone around them!”
I was thinking about this and was saddened by how many people I know who call themselves Christians, but their lives haven’t changed that much. They go to church on Sundays in order to check off the “God box” on their list. They stress and worry just as much as non-believers. They gossip, lead girls and guys on, and allow these “micro-sins” to go on in their lives. They need to get hit by a bus! We all do! We need to be completely overcome by the ferocious love of Jesus.
The thing I fear is that people are claiming to have met Jesus, but they live as if they had not! It’s like they’re standing right in front of me, telling they were hit by a bus five minutes ago, but they look fine!
I grew up with this concept that the Gospel meant that I go to heaven when I die. I figured that Jesus saved me from hell, and that was pretty cool, but I could do what I wanted in the meantime. I lived in that place for WAY too long!
The Gospel starts now.
If the gospel you believe does not affect your day to day life right NOW, you may want to go read the New Testament again. If the Good News of Jesus Christ simply saved you from death after death, where is the “life, and life to the fullest” (John 10:10) that Jesus promised us? What this means is that we don’t get to fear men anymore. We don’t get to live in fear of their rejection, because we know we are more loved and accepted by the only One who really matters!
God loves us. To paraphrase Paul: If they tear off our limbs and peel back our skin, so what? We get to be with Jesus! And if they don’t? We get to keep proclaiming this message; we get to keep loving on people in the meanwhile. What do we have to lose?
So, I guess that’s all I have to say. I hope it did something to you.
Now, may you go out and be hit by The Bus.