What does God have to do, (your name here)?

tallest_of_allestIt was a pleasantly cool winter day in Chicago when I was sitting in my car. I can’t remember much before that, but what came next is burned into my memory like vivid technicolor.  A man walked up to my open window and bent over to look at me. He and I stared at each other for a moment before I naturally asked if everything was OK. He squinted his eyes, head tilted to the side.

“You should be more careful, you looked like someone who killed my cousin and I was going to use this gun I have under my coat.”  He patted his waist.

There was the most awkward silence, which could have meant any number of things, but I translated as he still wasn’t totally sure of his mistake.  Calmly, I explained to him that I definitely wasn’t the guy, was actually a Christian and strove to teach people about the God of life from the bible. He was shocked and we continued to talk about Jesus for the next five minutes. When I got home, the gravity of what had just happened caught up to me and my legs began to get weak. If that stranger hadn’t been moved to use common sense and check first, chances are I would not be here today.

imagesRegardless of any arguments defending or dismissing a divine reason for that encounter, I resolved that it was too dangerous to ignore and, swallowing my pride, began a self-examination; how am I spending my life?  What is life anyway?  Echoing King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 2:18-19, I wondered what was so important about a human being’s worth when our breath can vanish in an instant, the pleasure, money, prestige we hoarded falling into uncertain hands? There are no promises to the extent of our mortality, but there are unbreakable vows from the living God regarding a new life that awaits. Faithful oaths from the purest lips, painting a future of joy, provision and exuberant celebration with Christ, the great victor over darkness.

However, that darkness is well acquainted with mankind’s weaknesses.  The forces that oppose our reunion with the Father God are skilled at blinding our eyes with little shiny things.  These attractive distractions keep us from seeing the answer to the question of “why”, the very same question that meant so much to us as children, and will again at the end of our days.  Thankfully, it’s not as complicated as we make it.  God’s design for us has been clearly spoken, recorded and survived thousands and thousands of years to get to you today.  The Lord is faithful.  Yet, when He whispers, no one listens.  When He yells, we shrink back in fear, in anger.

What does God have to do to get your attention?

Mordor Volcano“When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”

The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.” – Exodus 20:18-21

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6 responses to “What does God have to do, (your name here)?

  1. Reading your Blog Ellis really touched my heart. This is a testament of the love of God. What He does for one He will do for another, especially when we do as you’ve done and don’t ignore it.

    Pastor Jerry

  2. Amen! I really had no choice but to examine myself, which I thank God for because I also consider that His mercy. A carefree life often makes no time to think on the Lord and take HIS will seriously.

  3. You could also, equally validly, assert that Poseidon or Vishnu were trying to get your attention. In fact, according to your relation, you already identified yourself as a Christian. “Calmly, I explained to him that I definitely wasn’t the guy, was actually a Christian” which would seem to suggest that god already had your attention. (Also note the implication that being Christian should be taken as evidence of innocence or that Christians are incapable of murder. .) I suppose that what one could take away from such an incounter would be that given the unpredictable nature of human behavior, the astronomical number of variables involved in understanding interactions in our lives, and the apparent randomness of experience, we are bound to have breathtakingly odd experiences from time to time. Reading into these experiences beyond what prudence would allow reveals more about our beliefs than about the nature of reality.

    • Thanks for the comment Adam. My Christian experience goes back 20 years to the time I accepted Jesus Christ at 13 years old. I had heard the message of the gospel; of God wrapping himself in our mortal flesh, exposed to our weaknesses and frailties then willingly dying for us, and it touched my young soul. I got up from my seat and allowed the ministers to pray for me as I opened my heart and called out to the Son of God with my voice, my spirit and mind. Eyes closed, I could hear them saying “try to forget we’re here and just worship God who made you”. I lifted up my hands in surrender and for a moment, it was just me speaking, then suddenly I felt a wave of a vibrant sensation touch my face, and spread all over my body. It felt like someone so pure, and so holy, was near, tears began to well up in my eyes and my language changed. I remember trying to actually get control and speak normally, but this new language would not stop. I couldn’t stand, the presence of the living God was unlike anything I thought it would be. I expected a judgmental, harsh personality, but what i felt was so awesome in nature for sure, but with a love that was so strong that He refused to let me go. I opened my eyes, I was on the floor, still speaking praises to God in tongues. The ministers were so happy and praising God as well. I had seen this happen before, some fake perhaps, but it was most definitely not fake for me. The next night, i remember sitting alone in my room, just speechless over what happened and so with a child’s curiosity and faith, I got on my knees and asked “Holy Spirit, if you’re still here, I praise the Lord….”. As I woshipped, the same happened, like a whirlwind in my little chest. All of that came from my accepting Christ Jesus as I found out by reading the passage in the bible book of Acts 1:13; the same event happened to those who made the same choice to accept Jesus Christ as the savior of the world 2000 years ago. I did not know this at the time.

    • Sorry that’s so long, but it’s a passionate, very real event in my life. As a man, I just want to be clear about something that has changed my life. As for being a Christian and needing God to get our attention; it tends to happen in a faith that is based on grace. That means that God does not require perfection in order to attain salvation, only to believe;

      Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” – John 6:28-29

      So because of the mercy of grace, it’s possible for us Christians, who are just pardoned humans from every walk of life, to lose focus or be tempted by materialism. The father gets our attention in various ways to refocus and walk the path towards His radiant face.

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