“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Sometimes we need more than a caffeine jolt to be present.
My latest “awakening” has come to me via two books: Anne Graham Lotz’s Expecting to See Jesus: A Wake-Up Call for God’s People and Sam Childers’ Another Man’s War: The True Story of One Man’s Battle to Save Children in the Sudan.
I don’t think it’s an accident that I have been reading both titles at the same time. And I don’t think it’s an accident that recent headlines from Crosswalk’s Religion Today section have been focused on humanity, suffering and the Christian faith:
- Hurricane Irene Kills 25: Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Mobilizes Response
- 24 Killed in Series of Attacks on Christians in Nigeria
- Open Doors Reports Tripoli Christians Safe, Praying
Both books and these news stories are jolts to my consciousness. I have been especially convicted while reading Lotz’s book encouraging believers to WAKE UP, humble ourselves before the Lord and invite personal revival into our lives. And heartbroken while reading Childers’ first-person account about the ongoing terrorism and horrible atrocities that are yielding countless young victims of war in Southern Sudan.
And so in light of all of that, whether or not my toenail polish goes well with my dress that I’m planning on wearing to church this Sunday morning really doesn’t seem to matter at all. Really.
I’d laugh if this didn’t make me cry inside. Because this is the real world. This is human life. These are Jesus-is-coming-soon type of matters. They are what our purpose here on earth is all about. And if we are present, we can see this continuing battle of the lies of the culture versus the Truth of God’s Word.
As I’ve immersed myself in these books and in paying closer attention to what is happening in the world, I find myself being reminded to be present in my own life. Which ultimately means humbling myself before the Lord and yielding my life to him, so that he may use me and see his will be done. In the lives of those of my family and friends. In my church. In my community. In my priorities. In where my money is going. In where or on what I am spending my time.
But I find myself battling myself to do that. To bend my knee, to sacrifice and make myself available for the person who is right in front of me. For the person who needs someone to listen to them. For the person who needs me to help them. For the person who just needs me to . . . be present.
And it’s not that complicated. Jesus just sat down and shared a meal with people. He traveled to people’s homes. He listened. He spoke Truth. And news of him spread organically: person to person. Face to face. In community.
We are all challenged to follow his example of being present. Are we listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit? Are we following his prompting, his leading and his direction? Is our passion for Jesus stronger and burning more brightly than our love for football, the latest iPhone, the next Peter Jackson film or anything else that's temporal in this life?
Life is over in the blink of an eye. And with the world changing as fast as it is, with natural disasters happening every week or so, with the value of human life continuing to decrease, and with right and wrong just about done trading places, the time is NOW for you and me to be present as we seek the Lord.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
I have a challenge for us both this weekend: what do you say we turn off our televisions? I know. I don’t want to either. But let’s do it. Let’s use that time to reach out to someone else. Could be someone with whom you need reconciliation. Could be someone who thinks life isn’t worth living and is about ready to end it. Could be anyone going through anything. You just never know. So let’s be available and be present and see what God is trying to say to us and do through our lives.