Why should this astonish me? I can think of no good reason on the top of my head, why this should give me reason to pause and reflect. I mean, between youth group and church back home, and with PC, Shawn and the rest bugging me in KL, it should come as no surprise; when we pray, God works.
Why then am I struck by a certain sense of, dare I say it, awe at this statement?
And going on to the fact that these 5 people are not exactly people you'd think of immediately when deciding who to invite to a quiet dinner with friends...People whom are 'not of our preference'. Oh I'm sure Christians love as Christ loves us, unconditionally and without looking at whether we can get that same love from them, in fact without looking at whether we can get ANYTHING from them. After all, there has to be a reason why love is the greatest in the company of such stalwarts as faith and hope right?
He kept on praying without fail, day after day. A few months after he started praying, one of them accepted Christ. His fervor unabated, he kept praying.
The fact is, that loving people is not all easy. In fact it is never really easy. Which is how it should be, I suppose, because it definitely was not easy for Christ to come and do what He did for us. But to get down to the very core of it, it's not even about the dying that I have seem to have an issue with. It's with loving people that don't share the same values that I do, that don't see for the life of them why someone would choose to give their life for something, or someone they can't even see. And to be honest, when I look at it from their point of view, it really takes faith to believe in Jesus, and in all honesty I can't blame them totally. But still the feeling lingers, sadly. Truth is, I think I have a preference issue.
Cue Peter and the sheet full of animals(Acts 10). Peter looks at it with disgust, and when God commands him to eat, says that he has never eaten anything impure(according to Jewish law) and that he is not going to start now. Soon after, 3 men come and ask him to visit Cornelius, an upstanding man in many respects, devout and God-fearing even(10:2). The only problem; Cornelius is a Gentile.
Peter goes off, knowing well that the equivalent of a Jew visiting a Gentile back then is like a Muslim eating pork now; it's against the law(10:28). But this is when God does something never before done in the history of the Bible up till this point. God sends the Holy Spirit upon Cornelius and all who were there when Peter arrived(10:44). Peter learned how God does not show favouritism(10:34).
Imagine what would happen if Peter chose to have another of his 'preference moments' and had not gone to Cornelius' house. The salvation of the Gentiles would have been delayed at best, deferred at worst.
What we stand for, and what we allow to block our way HAS CONSEQUENCES.
So I guess I really have 2 issues. The unconscious preferences in my mind of different people, and the persistence to love them unconditionally, wanting to see them in heaven with Jesus. Keep me in prayer for this guys.
Does the life I'm living provide an environment which triggers people to God?
On the day of Goerge Mueller's funeral, his 5th and final friend came to the Lord.
I think this is where I woke up during the Christian Union meeting:-)