It 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.
Regardless 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?
“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